Hungary is backing China’s peace plan for Ukraine, which Budapest believes could form the foundation for further talks aimed at resolving the armed conflict tearing the country apart. This revelation came on Monday, when Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szíjjártó, held discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gan, in Beijing.
Qin highlighted that the relationship between China and Hungary is at its historical peak, emphasising that the enduring friendship and partnership between the two nations have proven resilient over time. Szíjjártó made it clear that Hungary stands firmly against any notion of ‘decoupling’ from China. Instead, the country remains committed to enhancing their bilateral ties, which have consistently grown more robust. Hungary warmly welcomes Chinese investments, recognizing China as a strategic cooperative partner and a significant market for development opportunities.
According to Szíjjártó, the Hungarian government appreciates China’s efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the Russo-Ukrainian war. He pointed out that while voices in the transatlantic world are pushing for conflict, more and more people globally – in line with China – are raising their voices for peace. He also noted that the Hungarian government does not share the view of Western nations that perceive China as a threat and risk.
During his visit, Szíjjártó stated that both countries were working closely to create the conditions for an immediate ceasefire and subsequent peace talks in Ukraine as quickly as possible. He expressed his delight that China is taking peace efforts seriously and is making strides in this direction. He also confirmed that the two nations would continue to collaborate closely in the future.
Szíjjártó opined that one of the most severe negative consequences of the war in Ukraine is the return to a world with a bloc mentality, which runs entirely counter to Hungarian interests. He argued that the cooperation between the European Union and China should be based on mutual respect and benefit.
Szíjjártó emphasised Hungary’s desire to continually expand cooperation between the EU and China, which precludes placing Chinese companies on a sanctions list or imposing export restrictions on them. He pointed out that Hungary has become Central Europe’s number one investment destination for Chinese companies. By the end of 2022, there were more Chinese investments in Hungary than elsewhere in Central Europe.
According to Szíjjártó, an additional €3 billion in Chinese automotive investments will be coming to Hungary shortly. These investments have been commissioned by German car manufacturers. There is little doubt that some of the battery production for electric vehicles will be located there.
Szijjarto credited the construction of the Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) battery plant in Debrecen, eastern Hungary, for sparking an influx of Chinese investments in the country. Boosting Hungary’s competitiveness within Europe, these Chinese investments bring state-of-the-art technology to their new locations, Szijjarto declared before a working dinner with CATL CEO Robin Zeng.
In addition, these investments in the electric vehicle industry are keeping Hungary at the cutting edge of the climate change battle. Szijjarto suggested that this is a point of pride for anyone who cares about the environment. He also made the bold claim that fourteen percent of harmful global emissions are directly attributed to car usage. He insisted that without a significant move towards electric vehicles, all environmental and climate objectives would merely remain unrealistic dreams.
In a spirit of competitiveness, Szijjarto acknowledged that the race to secure Chinese investments in Europe is intense. He did not shy away from asserting that Hungary’s victory in these investment bids over its more powerful Western rivals is not just due to the country’s favourable investment environment. He also hinted that the strong political ties between Hungary and China are a significant factor.
Szijjarto is present at the third edition of the China–Central and Eastern European Countries Expo and the International Consumer Goods Fair in Ningbo, a thriving coastal city located in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. The event, which will take place from Tuesday to Saturday, is set to feature Hungary as the guest of honour. The five-day event is anticipated to be a grand affair, with over 3,000 exhibitors showcasing their products and services. This year, it is expected to draw a significant crowd of around 10,000 potential buyers and an estimated 100,000 visitors.
Trade relationships between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) have seen a significant uptick, with an annual growth rate surpassing eight percent in recent years. The five-day exposition is designed to bolster this economic and trade collaboration further. Over the past decade, the trade volume between China and the CEECs has skyrocketed, exceeding 100 billion US dollars, which marks a staggering 1.6-fold increase. Moreover, mutual investments have been on an upward trajectory, cumulatively nearing the 20 billion US dollar mark.
The Chinese people have been very openly supportive of Wagner Group. It’s easy to see that despite being a “communist” country, it isn’t a “woke” communist one. By showing it will work with European countries that break with the EU thought police, China is playing a valuable role.
China is only doing this to weaken America. Not a true ally.
Don’t trust the Han. They are completely self-centered and are only using these divisions among Europeans to their advantage.
To do business or make temporary alliances is just smart. We can help each other without sharing values or over-committing.
China are masters of co-opting foreign institutions. They have to be watched closely.
This is a great development. In our current state of world affairs, we need all of the help we can get. And who cares if China dominates Asia?
Do they just want Asia?
I am neutral on this. For Hungary it is smart to explore these possibilities though. The EU continues to mess with their economy in a negative way.