Wang Yi (2nd on the left) and Peter Szijjarto (right) - Photo: MTI

Szijjarto: Talks under way on Chinese investments worth EUR 8-10 billion

Talks are currently under way with four large Chinese companies that could result in 8-10 billion euros worth of investment in Hungary, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday. The ministry cited Szijjarto as saying that he had met Wang Yi, the director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party, for the 15th time and Hungary profited greatly from cooperation with China, which was crucial for Hungary to emerge stronger from every crisis.

“We have been working for eight and a half years on developing a strategic and comprehensive system of relations between Hungary and China, to achieve a true partnership,” he added.

It was partly thanks to this cooperation that Hungary was able to launch a vaccination campaign during the coronavirus pandemic earlier than the European average, and during the current war crisis, relations between the two countries have again proven to be strategic, he said.

Environmental concerns have resulted in a political decision in Europe to make the transport sector greener, which requires electric cars and batteries, he said. Companies from the East, especially Chinese companies, are by far the market leaders in this field, he added.

Thanks to successful talks in recent years, agreements were signed on Chinese investments that brought the most modern and environmentally friendly technologies to Hungary, also creating thousands of jobs, he said.

“Let’s not forget that in the darkest year of the global economy, we were able to announce the largest investment in Hungary’s economic history,” he said.

“And a series of talks are currently under way with four large Chinese companies that could bring 8-10 billion euros worth of investment to Hungary,” he added.

He welcomed Beijing’s willingness to speed up investments and expand bilateral trade which reached 12 billion US dollars already last year.

“Additionally, cooperation in agriculture has also been developing, with Hungary having the largest number of import licenses on food products in China from the central and eastern European region,” he said.

Szijjarto said it was crucially important where Chinese tourists would first return after the lockdowns caused by the pandemic and noted that Hungary was one of two European countries and the only European Union member where Chinese travel agencies were already permitted to organise group travel to. A total of five air services operate between Hungary and China every week, he added.

He also said that the war in Ukraine had an extremely negative effect on Hungary and Europe, and it was good news that China was ready to take action to create peace and “we can work together in large international organisations in order to have peace return to Ukraine”.

Hungary ‘profiting immensely’ from strategic cooperation with China

Hungary’s economy has “profited immensely” from the comprehensive strategic cooperation the country has developed with China over the past years, Szijjarto said.

Szijjarto noted that he met Wang, a “friend”, for the 15th time which the foreign minister said had greatly helped building the strategic cooperation, according to a statement by the ministry.

Szijjarto said that cooperation with China had been “absolutely indispensable” for Hungary in emerging from the crises it had faced stronger than when it had entered them, noting the possibility of purchasing vaccines and medical equipment from China when “the whole of Europe had been waiting for vaccines”. This helped Hungary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, he said.

Wang: China prepared to offer support for Hungary’s sovereignty, security and development

At their meeting Wang said that bilateral relations were faring well despite the two countries’ geographical distance. Those relations are built on mutual trust and respect, he said, adding that the two countries mutually support one another “in resolving difficulties”. “Relations between the two countries’ leaders are also extremely good which greatly contribute to strengthening ties.”

Beijing greatly appreciates the Hungarian government’s “China-friendly policy” and support for certain matters in international forums, Wang said. China is also prepared to offer support for Hungary’s sovereignty, security and development, he added.

After a joint plenary meeting, Szijjarto told a joint press conference that Hungary and China were both pro-peace regarding the war in Ukraine, and ready to cooperate with “other peace-loving nations” to find diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

Hungary, a neighbouring country, has felt the fallout of the war especially strongly, also through the loss of Hungarian lives, Szijjarto said.

Saving lives is only possible through an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, he said. “We are happy to see that China is also on the side of peace and peaceful solutions. Every day spent in war brings much trouble for Hungary, Europe… and the world,” he added.

Wang also highlighted the importance of peace and lamented the “chaos and unrest in the world” and multiple wars in various regions. He also called for peace talks and diplomatic solutions to find an “acceptable and sustainable solution for all parties”.

Wang welcomed that Hungary and China agreed on many issues and said China would like to further strengthen cooperation with Hungary and the European Union “to improve the quality of life”.

He praised Hungary’s participation in China’s Belt and Road initiative, noting the revamping of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line in that framework. The friendly cooperation with Hungary will continue, and China will support Hungary in “finding the road to progress that’s most suited to its abilities,” he said.


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