China and Hungary announce new era of partnership

Beijing and Budapest aim to establish a “comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in Budapest on Thursday, where the two leaders agreed to elevate their partnership and establish a “new era” in bilateral relations. Both Xi and Orban spoke highly of each other’s nations, with the host praising China as “one of the pillars of the new world order” during their joint press conference. “Prime Minister Orban and I both agree that China and Hungary have always been good friends that trust and support each other as well as good partners that seek win-win cooperation over the years. We should further elevate our relations and enrich our cooperation,” Xi told members of the media at the press conference. The two leaders unveiled a declaration “on the establishment of an all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era.” The document provides a vision for building a closer relationship between the two nations. Beijing and Budapest originally established a “comprehensive strategic partnership” back in 2017, which was later deemed fruitful by both sides. “China and Hungary view each other as a priority partner for cooperation, always respect and treat each other equally, and set a good example of mutually beneficial pragmatic cooperation,” the new document reads. It promises that both have “agreed to maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen political mutual trust, and deepen cooperation for mutual benefit.”

Xi’s state visit to Hungary comes as a part of his first European tour in five years. Earlier this week, the Chinese leader visited France, holding talks with his counterpart Emmanuel Macron during a two-day stay. While Xi has expressed a readiness to “maintain strategic communication with France,” Macron praised the “friendly relationship and productive cooperation” the two countries enjoy. Afterwards, Xi visited Serbia, with the trip coming on the 25th anniversary of the 1999 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which left three Chinese citizens dead and 20 more injured. “The Chinese people cherish peace, but we will never allow such tragic history to repeat itself,” Xi wrote in an opinion piece published on Tuesday by the Serbian newspaper Politika. The Chinese president met his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic during the visit, with the two leaders charting a “shared future” for their countries. “Serbia became China’s first strategic partner in central and eastern Europe eight years ago, and it becomes the first European country with which we shall build a community with a shared future,” Xi said.