Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary and China can count on each other to “increase the voice of the peace camp” and the two countries closely cooperate towards achieving a ceasefire in Ukraine as soon as possible and start peace talks.
After meeting Qin Gang, his Chinese counterpart, in Beijing, the foreign minister said the war in Ukraine poses particularly serious challenges to the country, which is why Hungary “is arguing for peace” and wants the fighting to end as soon as possible. “Unfortunately, the war rhetoric is extremely strong globally, particularly in the Transatlantic world,” he said, adding that “therefore we need to constantly raise the voice of the peace camp” to make it clear that the global majority support peace. Szijjártó said that Hungary “does attach due significance to the role of the People’s Republic of China” in increasing the voice of the peace camp and appreciates the efforts China has recently taken towards peace. “We highly appreciate the peace plan China has put forward,” he said, welcoming the existence of such a plan in itself, arguing that when it comes to Ukraine, generally everybody talks only about war. Szijjártó said he agreed with his colleague to closely cooperate in “amplifying the voice of the peace camp”.
Minister Szijjártó said that among the most negative consequences of the war in Ukraine was the re-emergence of blocs in the world which, he added, went against Hungary’s interests. After talks with Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao in Beijing, Minister Szijjártó said: “We want connections, not blocs, to be a basis on which the world operates in the coming period … We think that China’s global initiatives serve to achieve this goal, so we support these.” He emphasised the need to build EU-China cooperation based on mutual trust and benefits. “We do not agree with the position that brands China as a threat. Our position is that there are enormous opportunities in cooperation with China as a partner.” “For this reason, we’d like to develop steady cooperation between the EU and China, and placing Chinese companies on a list of EU sanctions or introducing restrictions on their exports would be insupportable,” Szijjártó said. He noted that in 2022 China’s GDP expanded to a new record, exceeding the total GPD of the European Union, while it created 12 million urban jobs within a single year. “These results indicate that Europe can only benefit from cooperation with China, and this is why we are urging strong cooperation built on mutual respect,” the foreign minister said.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister said Hungary is a leader in digitalisation in which Huawei plays a decisive role. The foreign minister made the remarks after the signing of an agreement on the SEEDs scholarship scheme by representatives of the company and Hungary’s National University of Public Service in Beijing. Minister Szijjártó said on Facebook that with Huawei’s help, Hungary was continually developing its 5G network, the level of technology in the economy was improving, and progress was being made to ensure that over 90% of households in Hungary have advanced internet coverage by 2050. “We continue to maintain the position concerning global telecommunications providers that nobody should be excluded from competition based on their country of origin,” Szijjártó said. Hungary will continue to provide an open and fair economic and business environment for foreign investors in which the only powerful view is that companies must respect Hungarian laws and regulations, he said. “Huawei appreciates all of this and consequently our cooperation is further expanding, with the company’s scholarship scheme being launched at the National University of Public Service, focusing on research and innovation linked to 5G,” he added. Huawei said in a statement that the SEEDs scholarship scheme is aimed at talent support in technology, including support for student research linked to 5G. Huawei Technologies launched the SEESDs scholarship scheme in Europe in twelve countries in 2021. In connection with the scholarship agreement, Minister Szijjártó said that economic relations with China remained to be one of the main pillars of the government's strategy for foreign trade. “Companies, such as Huawei play the most important role in this because they not only invest and create jobs in Hungary but share technology know-how and actively support higher education in Hungary,” he said.
Finally, the foreign minister said the building of the battery plant by China’s CATL in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, is already stimulating other Chinese investments in the country. This is helping to boost Hungary’s competitiveness within Europe, given that Chinese investments bring the most cutting-edge technology to their new bases, Minister Szijjártó said ahead of a working dinner with CATL CEO Robin Zeng. Moreover, investments in the electric vehicle industry ensure that Hungary remains a leader in the fight against climate change, according to a ministry statement quoting the minister. “This is something everyone who feels a responsibility for the environment can be proud of,” Minister Szijjártó said. He noted that 14 per cent of global harmful emissions are linked to public road transport, adding that all green and climate goals would remain “a naive illusion” without the transition to electric vehicles. The minister said competition for Chinese investments in Europe remained fierce. “It’s clear that besides the competitiveness of Hungary’s investment environment, the excellent political relations between Hungary and China also play a major role in us winning these investment bids over much stronger Western countries," Minister Szijjártó said.