Published: 11:50, May 9, 2024
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China-Hungary relations at their highest point
By Chen Weihua in Budapest, Hungary

Investment, political, cultural exchanges testimony to accelerating bilateral ties

A China-Europe Express Train from Jinhua, Zhejiang province, sets off for Budapest, Hungary, on June 7, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Relations between China and Hungary are at their highest point ever, according to Hungarian and Chinese experts, who said they hope the upcoming state visit by President Xi Jinping to Hungary will help further boost ties.

Levente Horvath, director of the Budapest-based Eurasia Center, said bilateral cooperation in economic, political and cultural areas has reached its highest point in the 75 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

He said Hungary's Eastern Opening policy launched 14 years ago and China's Belt and Road Initiative are a perfect match.

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"The cooperation between China and Hungary has become ever closer," Horvath, a former Hungarian consul-general in Shanghai, told China Daily in fluent Chinese.

He cited the fast-growing bilateral trade and the fact that China is the largest investor in Hungary as testimony to the good relationship.

"It's a great time for President Xi to visit Hungary to celebrate the 75th anniversary with our President (Tamas Sulyok) and Prime Minister (Viktor Orban)," Horvath said.

"We hope this visit will help further accelerate the development of the bilateral relations."

Csizmadia Norbert, external director of Bank of China Central and Eastern Europe Ltd, stressed that cultural and educational exchanges have played a crucial role in enhancing mutual understanding and people-to-people bonds between the two countries.

"The increasing number of Chinese language learners in Hungary and Hungarian students studying in China reflects the growing interest and appreciation for each other's cultures and traditions," he said.

He pointed out that cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation has seen significant progress, with joint research projects and academic exchanges contributing to advancements in various sectors.

"Looking ahead, there are promising opportunities for further deepening and diversifying the cooperation between China and Hungary," Csizmadia said.

"Both countries can explore new areas of collaboration such as green technology, healthcare, tourism and digital economy."

He also believes strengthening connectivity through initiatives like the BRI can create additional momentum for bilateral cooperation.

"The China-Hungary relationship has been developing at a very high level, and bilateral cooperation has been very fruitful," said Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Ding noted that Hungary has been one of China's major economic and trade partners in Central and Eastern Europe and an important Belt and Road country.

"The state visit to Hungary by President Xi will further boost the political mutual trust and break new ground for BRI cooperation," he said.

He believes Hungary's six-month rotating presidency on the Council of the European Union starting on July 1 will also help contribute to a steady development of China-EU relations.

Imre Hamar, vice-rector for international affairs at Eotvos Lorand University, said the China-Hungary relationship is probably at its best in history.

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"Our government warmly welcomes cooperation with China in various fields," Hamar, a sinologist, told China Daily in Chinese.

"Our government hopes Hungary will become a hub for Chinese investors," he said, citing a list of Chinese investors in Hungary, from electric car maker BYD to battery maker CATL.

He noted the increasing number of Chinese investors have been good news for his students studying Chinese. Many of his students pursuing master's degrees work for Chinese companies during the day and go to school after work.

Hamar said he has been invited by Prime Minister Orban to attend the welcoming banquet for President Xi.

"It would be a great honor if I get to toast President Xi or chat a few words. That would be the happiest thing for me," he said.