PM Orbán: Hungary supports China’s peace initiative aimed at ending war in Ukraine

The prime minister said that Europe today was “on the side of war” with the sole exception of Hungary.

In a joint press statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Budapest on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Hungary supports China’s peace initiative aimed at ending the war in Ukraine.

PM Orbán said that Europe today was “on the side of war” with the sole exception of Hungary. He noted that Hungary has called for an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations, and backs “all international efforts aimed at peace”. Therefore, he said, “we support the peace initiative presented by Xi Jinping.” The prime minister said no solution to the war could be found on the battlefield. “We need a ceasefire and peace negotiations,” he reiterated. PM Orbán said Hungary had always maintained friendly ties with China based on solid political foundations. Also, Hungary observed the “One China policy” and the principle of mutual respect, regarding China as a friendly country, the prime minister said, adding that “the wheel of history” would not be able to turn such that the two countries could confront one another. PM Orbán said the Chinese president’s visit marking the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties was an honour, and noted the last such visit had happened 20 years ago. “At that time it was a completely different world,” he said. “Since then we have been through a pandemic claiming the lives of millions,” Orbán said, thanking the president for China’s help through which “the lives of many Hungarians were saved”. Referring to the war in Ukraine, he said “the risk of an international, even global war has never been this high.” The world twenty years ago was unipolar, while now it has multiple poles “with the People’s Republic of China, now dominating global economic and political trends, being one of its pillars,” he said.

Chinese investments worth 6,400 billion forints (EUR 16.5bn) are underway in Hungary, Orbán said. Bilateral trade has grown from 3 billion US dollars to 12 billion in twenty years, while there are seven Chinese city destinations reachable by air from Budapest, Orbán said. He said today’s joint statement spoke of a strategic partnership, adding that it was both “an honour and a great opportunity” for Hungary to be able to participate in the modernisation of China’s economy. This was also true of China’s willingness to participate in the development and modernisation of Hungary’s economy, he added. From virtually zero Chinese investments in Hungary twenty years ago, three-quarters of incoming investments came to China last year, providing “a safe and predictable livelihood to tens of thousands of people”. Orbán said Hungary was “proud” to be well situated in the competition for such investments, noting that the country “provides fair and decent conditions for Chinese companies that invest here”. The prime minister said Hungary was a meeting point for cutting-edge Western and Eastern technologies. Hungarians, he said, had “serious ambitions”. Hungary, he added, had lost the previous “shameful century”, but it wanted to win the 21st century. “For this, we need partners, investors and the world’s most modern technologies,” he said. “Hungary wants to import the best technologies, and in some areas, China is the best — in some cases far ahead of others,” he said. He thanked Xi for China’s support in bringing those technologies to Hungary, especially electromobility, the rail industry, and IT. PM Orbán also thanked Xi for his support for the investment agreement between Hungary and China. Cooperation between Hungary and China across the spectrum of the nuclear industry holds great potential, he said. He added that this intent was as much an expression of trust as “an economic fact”. Referring to Hungary’s “significant international experience and prestige” in the nuclear industry, Orbán said: “For over fifty years we’ve been in this industry, and Europe’s biggest nuclear development is underway in Hungary.” By the start of the next decade the proportion of nuclear energy in Hungary’s energy mix is planned to be 60-70%, he added. PM Orbán thanked Xi for agreeing to new Hungarian agricultural and food exports to China. He also thanked the Chinese president for an invitation to Hungary to be guest of honour at the Chinese International Investment and Trade Expo to be held at Xiamen, adding that “Hungary will be there and demonstrate … what we are capable of.” Orbán thanked Xi for his visit and expressed Hungary’s gratitude “for the steps the People’s Republic of China is taking in the interest of peace”.