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DW: China’s Xi Jinping meets Orban, Putin’s closest ally among EU leaders, in Hungary

Hungarian President Tamas Sulyok and Prime Minister Viktor Orban welcomed Xi.
Viktor Orban EU Council
Viktor Orban making his way to the EU Council in December 2018. Credit: Council of the European Union/Facebook
DW: China’s Xi Jinping meets Orban, Putin’s closest ally among EU leaders, in Hungary

On 8 May, Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Budapest, Hungary, to hold talks on possible further cooperation between the two countries and discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to Deutsche Welle.

China claims neutrality in the war. However, in April 2024, reports emerged on Chinese aid for Russia, including a range of critical materials for the manufacture of cruise missiles, drones, and military optics for tanks and armored vehicles for the Kremlin’s war machine. The West, especially the US, criticized China for the assistance, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting the country and meeting top officials.

Hungarian President Tamas Sulyok received the Chinese president with a ceremonial welcome. The country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, who is believed to be Putin’s closest ally among the EU leaders, was at the ceremony too.

Xi Jinping arrived in Hungary after meeting leaders in France and Serbia on his first state visit to Europe in the last five years. In Paris, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron sought to press Xi to use his influence on Moscow to end the conflict, as per AP.  Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to be a topic of discussion this week.

China and Hungary are also expected to sign more than 16 agreements, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. They could include a large-scale infrastructure project within the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the plan launched in 2013 to build networks connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Earlier, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary would not approve sending the €1,5 billion in EU aid to Ukraine from the European Peace Facility.

Hungary to block EU’s €1.5 billion aid for Ukraine, claiming “witch-hunt” against Hungarian companies

The initiative was established in March 2021. It funds military aid and EU military missions abroad. As of March 2024, €11.1 billion of EPF funding has been committed for military support to Ukraine.

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