On the 3rd of October 1949 Hungary was among the first countries that recognized the newly founded People’s Republic of China. In only three days, on October 6 the two countries established diplomatic relations. It is how the history of New China and the history of the Hungarian-Chinese relations go along the same time timeline and we celebrate mutual anniversaries each year.
After setting up the official relations the Hungarian-Chinese friendship developed all around in the 1950’s. Later, during the 60’s and 70’s we experienced a temporary disaffection in the bilateral relations due to the deterioration in the Chinese-Soviet nexus. Our relations became intensive again from the beginning of the 80’s but the change of the political system in Hungary in 1989 caused a minor recoil. The real breakthrough came with the state visits by Hungarian President Árpád Göncz to China in 1994, and the next year by Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Hungary. By the year 1999 both countries commemorated the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations with large scale celebrations.
August 2003 witnessed the first visit by Hungarian Premier to China after a 44-year intermission that was followed by state visits in June, next year.
After Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 the bilateral political relations between our countries have been elevated to a higher level. Adapted to the strategic partnership between China and the EU, a Joint Statement on “Friendly Partnership of Cooperation” has been signed during the visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao which defined a new era of development of the bilateral ties. Today we enjoy undeniable friendship and partnership, and the two countries practice high level communication on a regular basis.
The beginning of the present decade was another important milestone in the Hungarian-Chinese relations. In 2010 the Hungarian government announced the “Opening to the East” policy. Besides the traditional ties with our European partners, the Hungarian foreign policy directed its attention to other regions with which it once maintained fruitful economic and trade relations, and which were able to keep up dynamic growth notwithstanding the global economic crises. Under this policy Hungary strives for a harmonious and comprehensive political, economic and cultural partnership with countries in Asia. One of the most important among them is the People’s Republic of China.
At the same time, in the fall of 2011 leaders of China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) announced together at their Budapest meeting the China-CEE cooperation mechanism through which China and CEE partners, including Hungary outline blueprint for further strategic and economic cooperation.
The political relations are characterized by high-level meetings on a regular basis:
- During his visit to Shanghai between the 31th October and the 2nd November 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán conducted talks with his Chinese counterpart, Premier Wen Jiabao.
- On his official visit to Budapest in June 2011, Premier Wen Jiabao met Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
- The two Prime Ministers had a further bilateral meeting on the 26th April 2012 in Warsaw, on the sidelines of the First Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC).
- On the occasion of the Second Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEE countries on 25-26th November 2013 in Bucharest, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán participated in a bilateral meeting.
- On 12-13th February 2014, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made an official visit to China. During his visit, the Hungarian Prime Minister met the supreme leaders of the country, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, Premier Li Keqiang, as well as Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
- Between 27th and 28th October 2014, Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade visited China and met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China.
- On the sidelines of the Third Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEE Countries on the 16th and 17th December 2014 in Belgrade, the second bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Premier Li Keqiang took place.
- Between 5th and 7th June 2015 Chinese foreign minister payed a visited to Hungary after 15 years. On the 6th of June Wang Yi had talks with Péter Szijjártó, his Hungarian counterpart. On the same day the Chinese guest made courtesy call on the Hungarian Premier Viktor Orbán and President János Áder.
- September 2015 Péter Szijjártó, minister of foreign affairs and trade of Hungary visited Beijing on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victories of Anti-Japanese War of the Chinese people and the World Anti-Fascist War. On the 2nd of September he met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi the second time this year. The next day he had talks with Vice-President Li Yuchano upon the Hungarian-Chinese bilateral relations.
- On 24th November, 2015 on the margins of the 4th China-CEEC Summit Meeting the bilateral consultation of Premier Viktor Orbán and Premier Li Keqiang took place as well. The two leaders and Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic witnessed the signing of the governmental cooperation documents on the modernization of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line.
- On 6th October, 2016 at the occasion of the China-CEE Political Parties Dialogue in Budapest Premier Viktor Orbán and Liu Yunshan, member of the Political Committee of the Communist Party of China held a meeting at which the Hungarian Prime Minister proposed to elevate the level of cooperation between China and Central Europe to the higher Strategic Partnership.
- On 5th November, 2016 in Riga heads of the Hungarian and Chinese government, Viktor Orbán and Li Keqiang once again held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the 5th China-CEEC Meeting of the Heads of Governments. One of the most important outcomes of the summit meeting for Hungary is that the leaders made a decision that Hungary is granted to be the next host of the of the annual summit of the leaders of the 16+1 countries.
- On 30th November, 2016 during the official visit of Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade, Péter Szijjártó to China and his Chinese colleague, Wang Yi held the first round of regular Hungarian-Chinese diplomatic consultation. When visiting Beijing, foreign minister Péter Szijjártó also met State Counsellor Yang Jiechi. In line with the political consultations the 1st Chinese-Hungarian One Belt One Road Working Group Meeting was organized. The first such meeting held by China with a foreign partner.
Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade, Péter Szijjártó has been actively promoting bilateral ties even before his present duties, as he has been serving as Government Commissioner for Hungarian-Chinese Bilateral Relations since March 2013.
All of this shows that the Hungarian-Chinese cooperation is now working in a multi-level, complex system. Exchanges cover a wide variety of areas and forms of continuously deepening cooperation. The history of Sino-Hungarian relationship is experiencing its paramount period.
There are no historical issues nor clash of interests between Hungary and China. Further strengthening our partnership serves shared intention of the two countries and their people. We are convinced that mutual efforts of the two countries will be resulted in the continuous development of the Hungarian-Chinese relationship.