Diplomat: Relations built on mutual trust

2024-05-09 08:17:24China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Gong Tao gave credit for the good relations between China and Hungary to guidance by the top leadership, growing political mutual trust and increasing strategic alignment.

He noted that President Xi Jinping and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have held face-to-face meetings and phone talks several times and established a close working relationship and personal friendship.

"They have kept a firm grasp on the direction forward for China-Hungary relations and made a top-level design for the bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields," said Gong, who took the post in September.

He was involved in preparing for and receiving Orban's visit to China in October to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and other activities in China.

"I felt strongly the high degree of political mutual trust and deep friendship between the leaders of the two countries," he said.

During that visit, the two countries agreed to better align the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Hungary's Eastern Opening national strategy, a policy to increase Hungary's cooperation with countries in the East, including China. Orban and Premier Li Qiang also witnessed the signing of 10 documents on bilateral cooperation at that time.

In 2015, Hungary was the first European country to sign a BRI cooperation document with China.

Gong described the bilateral relationship as a role model for a new type of international relations.

"China has always regarded Hungary as a good friend and a good partner, with mutual trust and seeking win-win cooperation," he said.

He added that both countries support building connectivity and promoting an equal, orderly multipolar world and inclusive economic globalization, and both are unequivocally against decoupling or bloc confrontation.

"The fruitful achievements of China and Hungary's mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields have not only benefited the people of the two countries, they have also shown that China is an opportunity for Europe and not a challenge, and China is a partner and not a rival," Gong said.

In 2023, bilateral trade between China and Hungary exceeded $13 billion, and Chinese foreign direct investment in Hungary reached 7.6 billion euros ($8.17 billion), accounting for 58 percent of the foreign direct investment in Hungary and creating more than 10,000 jobs.

Hungary has for years been the top destination of Chinese FDI in Central and Eastern Europe. China is Hungary's largest trading partner outside the European Union.

Chinese companies such as electric vehicle battery maker CATL and electric vehicle maker BYD are racing ahead with investment projects in Hungary, while a solar power plant funded and built by China National Machinery Import %26Export Corp in Kaposvar in southwestern Hungary has begun operations.

Gong said that more Chinese companies in the fields of electric vehicles, lithium batteries and solar energy have made Hungary a "bridgehead" into the EU market.

"They have not only contributed to the Hungarian economy and job creation, but also helped upgrade Hungary's manufacturing sector to make Hungary more competitive in the international marketplace," he said.

Gong emphasized the importance of people-to-people exchanges, citing a long list of activities that have brought the two peoples closer together to lay a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation. Hungary is host to five Confucius Institutes and a Hungarian-Chinese bilingual school.

"President Xi's upcoming state visit to Hungary, the first by China's head of state in 20 years and Xi's first visit to Hungary as Chinese president, will become a milestone of great significance for the bilateral relationship," Gong said. Xi also visited Hungary in 2009 when he was Chinese vice-president.


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