“We have realised the targets set in recent years, and it is therefore time to designate new targets in Hungarian-Chinese cooperation”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday in Budapest.

In his speech at the second session of the Chinese-Hungarian One Belt, One Road working group, the Minister highlighted the fact that the targets set at the first session of the working group concerning the development of infrastructure, trade, financial cooperation, and relations between people have all be realised in recent years. From among the various achievements, he mentioned the fact that there are now two direct air passenger routes linking the two countries, the value of investments on the part of Chinese enterprises in Hungary has reached 4.5 billion dollars, seven Chinese companies have concluded strategic cooperation agreements with the Hungarian Government, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Hungary has quadrupled, and the first joint Hungarian-Chinese university programme has been launched. “China has now become Hungary’s number one trade partner outside the European Union”, he added. According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, we must now concentrate on four issues: establishing further links, increasing financial cooperation, achieving unrestricted trade, and reinforcing human relations. The Minister said important goals include the signing of the loan agreement on the Budapest-Belgrade railway line before the end of this year, the establishment of more air passenger routes, the launching of another joint Hungarian-Chinese university programme, and enabling Chinese-accredited high school examinations to be taken in Hungary.

Mr. Szijjártó noted that two large Chinese banks are preparing to appear on the Hungarian market, which will further improve trade and economic relations. “Hungarian-Chinese relations have never been as good as they are today”, he declared. “Hungary signed the agreement on the implementation of the One Belt, One Road strategy four years ago. Together with Hungary’s Eastern Opening Policy, this fully serves Hungarian economic interests, as well as cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian area to it east”, he said. “Since then, Hungarian-Chinese intergovernmental relations have been raised to the highest level”, he added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that at the sessions of the working group the parties want to develop concrete solutions that will definitely improve bilateral relations. He pointed out that during the past five years some 150 countries have signed the On Belt, One Road strategy, which has proven to be a major and popular initiative, and trade relations between the partner countries have increased to a major extent. “The initiative’s second conference was held in China this year with the participation of 38 heads of state and government, including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán”, he recalled. He added that the Hungarian Prime Minister is one of the is one of the greatest supporters of the initiative, and Hungary was the first EU member state to sign the strategy in 2015. “Since the launch of the One Belt, One Road strategy, Hungarian-Chinese relations have risen to the level of strategic partnership, and we are continuously working on expanding cooperation”, the Chinese Foreign Minister stated. “One of the flagships of this cooperation is the Budapest-Belgrade railway line project”, he added.