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Hungary Becomes First European Country To Join China’s New Silk Road Initiative

Hungary has officially become the first European country to ink a cooperation agreement for China’s New Silk Road initiative, a package of strategic initiatives to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, to develop trade and transport infrastructure across Asia and beyond, China’s Foreign Ministry said late on Saturday.

China, Hungary Foreign Ministers

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Hungarian Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto (right) shake hands after signing a memorandum of understanding for China’s New Silk Road in Budapest on June 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

The Foreign Ministers of Hungary and China signed a memorandum of understanding for the “One Belt, One Road” project in Budapest on Saturday, according to a statement published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China welcomes more European countries to look East, and to strengthen cooperation with China and other countries in Asia, and participate in the New Silk Road initiatives, said Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, according to a separate statement published on the website.

Wang said that China will work together with Hungary to step up the modernization of the Budapest-Belgrade railway, the construction of China-Europe land-sea express line, in addition to other major infrastructure projects, Xinhua reports.

China is helping to finance and construct a new railway that will connect Hungary and Serbia.

Meanwhile, the two sides should continue to expand trade and the scope of financial cooperation, actively carry out industrial investment cooperation, and promote bilateral pragmatic cooperation to a higher level, Wang said on Saturday, according to Xinhua.

China has been said to invest around $900 billion into the New Silk Road with over 900 projects in 60 countries along the route.

The Vice Chairman of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission said last week that its New Silk Road project will boost the use of the yuan in trade that may total $2.5 trillion in a decade.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a decree for cooperation in tying the development of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with the new Silk Road economic project.

Projects under China’s ambitious New Silk Road initiative include a network of railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links across Asia, Europe, and Africa.

The New Silk Road will even stretch as far as to Latin America via a 5,300 km railway link that will be constructed and will span the continent from Brazil’s Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast of Peru in an effort to reduce the cost of exports to China.


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