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Hungary Welcomes China’s Investment: A Strategic Move Amid EU’s Resistance

Daniel Kim Views  

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Photo: Xinhua/Yonhap News

President Xi Jinping of China continued his close ties with Eastern Europe, elevating the cooperation level with Hungary, the final stop on his European tour, and promising significant infrastructure investments.

According to Bloomberg, President Xi and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban held a joint press conference in Budapest on the 9th, announcing, “China and Hungary will become all-weather and terrain comprehensive strategic partners, further advancing the level of cooperation” and “We will strengthen economic ties, including trade and finance.” The two leaders signed agreements in 18 fields, including energy and infrastructure, that day. The specifics of the deals are not yet disclosed, but they are believed to involve cooperation in railways, roads, nuclear power, and automobiles.

Despite escalating anti-China sentiment within the European Union (EU), Orban emphasized his firm support for China. A source reported that during his meeting with Xi, Orban said, “Hungary does not equate the concepts of overproduction and de-risking with China,” adding, “Hungary’s determination to deepen cooperation with China is unwavering and will not be interfered with by any force.”

Hungary, an EU member, bases this stance on the substantial economic benefits it is reaping from its relationship with China. Over the past few years, China has invested more than $16 billion in Hungarian investment projects. China’s BYD, which has emerged as the world’s largest electric car manufacturer, chose the southern Hungarian city of Szeged as the site for its first European factory, and battery company CATL is building a $7.8 billion electric car battery factory. China’s Great Wall Motors (GWM) is reportedly discussing plans to build an electric car factory in Hungary. China has also invested in a railway project connecting Hungary and Serbia.

BYD. Photo: Reuters/Yonhap News

Hungary was the first EU member to sign a contract with China for the One Belt and One Road Initiative (land and sea Silk Road). When Orban emphasized, “We will provide fair conditions to Chinese companies investing in Hungary,” Xi responded, “China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Hungary’s economic opening strategy are very compatible.”

Xi and Orban also agreed on security and diplomatic issues. Regarding the Ukraine war, Orban said, “We support the international community’s efforts to an immediate ceasefire and hold peace talks, and we support China’s peace plan proposed by President Xi.” China’s peace plan announced last February calls for a ceasefire but does not demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied territories, differing from the peace proposals of the US and other Western countries for Ukraine. Xi said, “Hungary will play a bigger role in promoting relations between China and the EU.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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