Diplomacy Economy Hungary Serbia

Chinese leader visits Hungary, Serbia in May

| 2024-04-14 2 min read

Chinese leader visits Hungary, Serbia in May

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Budapest, Hungary and Belgrade, Serbia, at the beginning of May. After a trip to France from May 5-7, Xi Jinping will then stop over in Belgrade, before concluding his Europe tour in Budapest, Radio Free Europe (RFE) wrote, citing two independent sources.

Orban China’s closest ally in EU

Xi Jinping met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in October, when the latter was the only EU president to attend the third international forum of the One Belt, One Road initiative in Beijing.

Orban signed ten economic agreements in Beijing, and by December, electric car manufacturer Chinese BYD had announced that it would build a factory in Szeged, south Hungary. Other Chinese companies that have invested in Hungary include electric battery manufacturers CATL, Eve Power and SEMCORP, all of which are building factories in Debrecen, east Hungary.

China will provide visa-free travel for Hungarian citizens until the end of November, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced last month. Hungarian Finance Minister Varga Mihaly also revealed a new cargo flight between China and Hungary a fortnight ago.

Serbia seems to okay China move on Taiwan

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had already mentioned Xi Jinping’s intention to visit his country at the end of February, without specifying a date. 

Vucic has expressed support for Xi Jinping’s claim over Taiwan, a country in East Asia that is officially the Republic of China, telling Chinese media that “Taiwan is China, and it’s up to you what, when and how you’re going to do it, full stop. That’s your territory, this is your people and you are a sovereign nation,” Vucic said.

RFE recalls that Xi Jinping visited Hungary in October 2009, as Chinese vice president, and signed 15 bilateral agreements. In December 2014 China announced a two-track railway construction project between Belgrade and Budapest by 2017, but it remains uncompleted after a litany of problems. The 160km Hungarian section has been costed at HUF 750bn, 85% of which Hungary will pay with a Chinese state loan.