China's Xi feted in Hungary, the last stop of his European tour

Chinese President Xi Jinping was given military honours as he visited Hungary on Thursday – seeking a "new journey" with his closest European Union ally amid divisions with the West over the Ukraine war and global trade. It’s the final leg of Xi's first visit to Europe in five years, which started in France.

Hungarian President Tamas Sulyok received Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan with military honours in the courtyard of the presidential palace in Budapest.

The Chinese leader had arrived on Wednesday night, attending a state dinner with Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the back of a visit to Serbia.

In an op-ed published in Hungary's pro-government Magyar Nemzet daily, Xi praised a "long-standing friendship" that he said was "as mellow and rich as Tokaji wine" – referring to the renowned Hungarian vineyards region.

Xi's three-day visit to Hungary marks 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Since Hungary began to promote itself as a global hub for the manufacturing of electric vehicles in 2022, several new Chinese businesses have sprung up around the country.

According to the Hungarian government, the two countries are expected to sign at least 16 different agreements promoting their cooperation in rail and road infrastructure, nuclear energy and the automotive industry.

The Chinese leader is due to leave Hungary late Friday.

First stop France

Xi kicked off his Europe trip on Sunday with a visit to France. His exchanges with French President Emmanuel Macron were cordial but also highlighted tensions between Beijing and the EU over the war in Ukraine and global trade.

(with newswires)

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