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Viktor Orban, Hungarian leader, meets Xi Jinping in China after talks with Putin

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, seeking another authoritarian partner after talks with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. in Moscow last week.

In announcing Mr Orban’s visit to Beijing, China’s official news agency Xinhua just say Mr Xi will have an “in-depth discussion with him on issues of mutual concern”. The last time the leaders met was two months ago, when Mr Xi visited Budapest as part of efforts to restore Chinese influence in Europe.

Chinese state television reported that Mr Xi and Mr Orban were holding talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, but gave no other details.

The meeting will give Mr. Xi and Mr. Orban, an outsider in the European Union over his support for Ukraine and other issues, a chance to push the bloc away from Washington. Hungary begins its six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union this month, giving Mr. Orban a higher profile, though not more influence, on broader European affairs.

In May, Mr Xi told Mr Orban: “China and Hungary have similar philosophies and both value independence and act on their own initiative.” China official summary in their conversations.

Western European leaders have long shunned Mr Orban, and when he visited Moscow last week they stressed that he did not represent the European Union. They are likely to be similarly skeptical of Mr Orban’s talks with Mr Xi in Beijing, where the two leaders are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Mr Orban’s visit to China comes ahead of a three-day NATO summit in Washington that begins on Tuesday. At those talks, President Biden and other Western leaders able to supply Ukraine received more support in the fight against Russian aggression, although not NATO membership as President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged.

Mr. Orban describe your trip to Beijing as continuing his “peace” mission to Ukraine, a term Hungary has used to describe a solution built on Ukraine’s capitulation to Russian demands. His visit to Russia last week was the first time a European Union leader had gone there for formal talks with Mr. Putin since the first months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Before visiting Moscow, Mr Orban met Mr Zelensky in Kyiv, in what observers saw as a move by the Hungarian leader to try to end his isolation in Europe over UkraineHis visits to Ukraine, Russia and China were not announced in advance.

Mr Orban has called widely for Moscow and Kyiv to agree to a ceasefire and direct talks, but he has not made any specific public proposals for a lasting solution.

Likewise, Mr. Xi has pushed for a vague framework for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, while carefully maintaining close ties with Mr. Putin. Chinese troops will participate in military exercises in Belarus, a neighbor and close partner of Russia, in mid-July, China’s Defense Ministry said. published on Sunday. The ministry said the joint exercise would focus on “counter-terrorism” and hostage rescue operations.

The talks between Mr Orban and Mr Xi will give them another opportunity to underscore their shared opposition to Western security alliances and criticism of human rights.

Mr Orban, a critic of China’s ruling Communist Party, has become a firm partner, often opposing European Union criticism of China’s hardline policies in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, the western region where Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups have suffered mass internment.

In May, Mr Xi and Mr Orban officially upgraded China-Hungary relations have become an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” — a Chinese diplomatic term that refers to a deep and long-term relationship.

“We consider each other as priority cooperation partners,” he said. Xi Jinping wrote back then on relations with Hungary.


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