“Hungary is a middle-sized country with an extremely open economy, and it is good news from the perspective of the performance of the economy that relations with China, which is undertaking a major role with relation to global economic changes, are set on a foundation of mutual respect and have never been as good as they are today”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Budapest on Friday.

Mr. Szijjártó held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, after which at a joint press conference he emphasised: “Hungarian-Chinese political, economic, trade and cultural relations are exceptionally good”. We have worked hard to achieve this; cooperation with China is in Hungary’s interests, and accordingly “we will not be giving it up”, he declared. “Today, China is our number one trade partner outside the EU”, he explained. “Chinese companies continue to view Hungary as an attractive investment destination, and their investments are bringing new technologies to Hungary with which they are greatly facilitating the Hungarian economy in the success of its dimensional transition”, he stated. “In Hungary, the same rules apply to all enterprises; here, no company can be discriminated against because of its origin”, the Minister highlighted. The Minister recalled that Hungary was the first EU member state to join the bilateral agreement linked to the One Belt, One Road strategy, and we regard the initiative as “the foundation for new Eurasian cooperation”. “The closest and most effective possible cooperation with China is in Europe’s interests”, he added. As he explained, the strategy and opening towards the east serves the interests of the Hungarian economy and provides a major opportunity “to achieve further foreign trade success”.

Mr. Szijjártó also mentioned that Eximbank has opened a 632-million-dollar credit line in the interests of facilitating cooperation between Hungarian and Chinese enterprises. “Two large Chinese banks will also soon be appearing in Hungary, direct air passenger services have been launched between the two countries and new ones are in preparation, in addition to which another joint university programme could soon be launched”, he said, listing the achievements. The Minister pointed out that an agreement has been reached concerning the credit agreement relating to the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, and the final decision on issuing the loan will hopefully be made soon.

In reply to a question, the Foreign Minister said the 17+1 format cooperation between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China serves Hungarian, Central European and European Union interests. “It points to hypocrisy that accusations are being made with relation to this of breaking European unity, while no such accusations are made when Western leaders meet with Chinese leaders”, he said, adding that “we do not accept such double standards”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlighted: “Despite all international developments, Hungary and China have always understood and respected each other; our relations are more stable, and our cooperation is more intensive than ever before”. “In China’s view, all countries play an important role in the international community, regardless of their size”, he explained. “In the age of uncertainty and international instability, Hungary has always stood beside China; it is a dependable partner, and accordingly China will continue to support Hungary”, he said. “Hungarian-Chinese relations are an outstanding example of how countries of differing sizes and structure can also maintain friendly relations”, he added. He said that in his opinion the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations should be exploited to give new momentum to the construction of the strategic partnership between Hungary and China. “The two countries are working together on the success of the One Belt, One Road initiative and on the earliest possible commencement of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line project, and China is awaiting the appearance of new Hungarian agricultural products on its market”, he stated. In reply to a question, the Chinese Minister said that the 17+1 cooperation has developed to become a framework system that has already realised achievements in several fields of expertise. Also in reply to a question, the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed his objection to the fact that the United States is selling weapons to Taiwan, and called on Washington to “stop playing with fire” with relation to Taiwan.