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

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, a friendly overture to another authoritarian partner following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Moscow last week.

China’s official Xinhua news agency announced Mr Orban’s visit to Beijing Just saying Xi Jinping will have “in-depth discussions on issues of common concern” with him. The two leaders last met two months ago, when Xi Jinping Visited Budapest This is part of an effort to restore China’s influence in Europe.

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

The meeting will provide an opportunity for Xi and Mr. Orban, who has been an outlier in the bloc over its support for Ukraine and other issues, to urge the EU to distance itself from Washington. Hungary’s six-month rotating presidency of the European Council, which began this month, has given Mr. Orban higher profile in broader European affairs, though little more influence.

According to one report, Xi told Orban in May: “China and Hungary have similar ideas and both respect independence.” Official Chinese Summary Their conversation.

Western European leaders have long distanced themselves from Orban, stressing during his visit to Moscow last week that he does not represent the EU. They are likely to be similarly skeptical of his talks with Xi in Beijing, where the two leaders are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Mr Orban’s visit comes ahead of a three-day NATO summit that begins on Tuesday. During the talks, President Biden and other Western leaders Possible supply to Ukraine Although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Ukraine to join NATO, his government has not given it more support in the war against Russian invasion.

Mr. Orban Describing his trip to Beijing Continue to work for “peace” in Ukraine, a term Hungary has used to describe a reconciliation based on Ukraine’s capitulation to Russian demands. Putin visited Russia last week for the first time since the first months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that an EU leader went to Russia for formal talks with Putin.

Before his visit to Moscow, Orban met with Zelensky in Kiev, which observers saw as an attempt by the Hungarian leader to Ending Ukraine’s isolation in EuropeHis visits to Ukraine, Russia and China were unannounced.

Mr. Orban has made broad calls for Moscow and Kiev to agree to a ceasefire and engage in direct negotiations, but he has not publicly proposed any specific lasting solution.

Likewise, Xi has pushed for a vague framework for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, while still being careful to maintain a close relationship with Putin.

Talks between Orban and Xi will give them a chance to underline their shared antipathy toward Western security alliances and criticism of human rights.

Orban, a former critic of China’s ruling Communist Party who has become a staunch EU partner, has often pushed back against EU criticism of China’s hard-line policies in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, a western region where Uighurs and other mainly Muslim ethnic groups have been subject to mass detentions.

In May, Xi Jinping and Orban Officially upgraded China-Hungary relations have developed into an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” – a Chinese diplomatic term that implies that the relationship between the two countries is deep and enduring.

Mr. said: “We see each other as priority partners.” Xi Jinping wrote at the time Relations with Hungary.

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