Viktor Orban visits Xi Jinping in China after meeting with Putin in Moscow

More news – Latest news

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, following his recent talks with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow.

China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, announced Orban’s visit, saying Xi would engage in “in-depth discussions on issues of mutual concern” with him. The two leaders last met two months ago, when Xi visited Budapest to boost Chinese influence in Europe.

Chinese state television reported that the meeting took place at the Diaooyutai State Guesthouse, but gave no further details.

The meeting offers Xi and Orban, who often diverges from the European Union on Ukraine and other issues, a platform to encourage the EU to distance itself from Washington. Hungary recently began its six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, boosting Orban’s visibility, though not significantly increasing his influence on European affairs.

In May, Xi told Orban: “Our two countries, China and Hungary, share similar philosophies and value independence and initiative,” according to an official Chinese summary of their talks.

Western European leaders have distanced themselves from Orban, especially after his visit to Moscow. They have stressed that he does not represent the European Union. They are expected to view Orban’s talks with Xi in Beijing with similar skepticism, especially since the discussions are likely to include the war in Ukraine.

Orban’s visit to China comes ahead of a three-day NATO summit in Washington that begins Tuesday. During the summit, President Biden and other Western leaders are expected to step up support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, though they are unlikely to offer the NATO membership that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeks.

Orban described his trip to Beijing as part of a “peace” mission for Ukraine, a term Hungary uses to describe a deal based on Ukrainian concessions to Russia. His visit to Russia last week marked the first formal talks between a European Union leader and Putin since the first months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Before visiting Moscow, Orban met with Zelensky in Kiev, a move seen by observers as an attempt to break his isolation in Europe over Ukraine. His visits to Ukraine, Russia and China were not announced in advance.

Orbán called in general terms for Moscow and Kiev to agree on a ceasefire and direct talks, but did not propose specific solutions for a lasting peace.

Likewise, Xi has supported a comprehensive framework for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, while maintaining strong ties with Putin. China’s Ministry of National Defense announced Sunday that Chinese troops would participate in military exercises in Belarus, a close ally of Russia, in mid-July. The drills will focus on “anti-terrorism” operations and hostage rescue.

The talks between Orbán and Xi Jinping are an opportunity for both to underline their shared opposition to Western security alliances and criticism of human rights.

Once a critic of the Chinese Communist Party, Orban has become a reliable ally. He often pushes back against EU criticism of China’s policies in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, where Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups have faced mass detentions.

In May, Xi and Orbán officially upgraded China-Hungary relations to a “comprehensive and all-weather strategic partnership,” signaling a deep and lasting relationship.

“We regard ourselves as a priority partner for cooperation,” Xi wrote regarding relations with Hungary.

You may also be interested in – Featured Contributors