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We are raising Hungarian-Vietnamese relations to the level of strategic partnership

At the joint press conference the Prime Minister called Vietnam an outstandingly successful country that is one of the leaders in the Far East. He added that this success is encouraging to Hungary, because it shows that a country can be successful – and perhaps can only be successful – if it adopts a social, political and economic system that best suits its character, and which is derived from its own culture.

He stressed that the largest countries in the world are also striving to forge alliances with Vietnam, meaning that “there are ever more of us around the world with an interest in Vietnam being a successful country.”

Mr. Orbán also noted that it is in Hungary’s interest for free trade negotiations between the Europe Union and Vietnam to be concluded as soon as possible, and for trade to begin in a true sense.

The global economy, he said, has entered a development phase in which technology, capital and goods are not only flowing from West to East, but also in the opposite direction. This is a phenomenon that has become obvious in recent years, he added, noting that Hungary has adapted to it with its “Eastward Opening” policy.

Photo: Gergely Botár

The Prime Minister observed that in 2016 Hungary launched its largest lending programme, comprising tied aid of some 500 million euros, and that Hungary is able to contribute to Vietnam’s development in areas such as health care, education, water management and agriculture.

Mr. Orbán noted that his meeting with the Vietnamese leader was made even more interesting by the fact that the two countries’ constitutional systems are significantly different, but each of the negotiating partners can be seen as his people’s most important leader.

In closing, the Prime Minister described the topics discussed at the meeting: developing tourism opportunities; promoting investments by the two countries’ enterprises; the Hungarian state scholarship programme, in which two hundred Vietnamese students are able to take part; and Hungary’s intention to open an outstandingly high-quality cultural representation in the Vietnamese capital to mark the upcoming anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam agreed with Mr. Orbán that Hungary and Vietnam must strive to establish a general, all-encompassing partnership. In his press statement, Nguyễn Phú Trọng said that their meeting had had been productive, and had taken place in an atmosphere of openness, friendship and trust. He declared that Vietnam sees Hungary as a primary strategic partner, and that both parties must improve and simplify the investment environment. He expressed his sincere appreciation for effective assistance provided for Vietnam’s “defence struggles” and the country’s reconstruction. In relation to the fields of training and education, he told reporters that Vietnam is striving to make good use of the Hungarian government’s scholarship programme.

According to the General Secretary, in international organisations Vietnam and Hungary cooperate while striving to assist each other, and while respecting the right of nations to self-determination. He indicated that Vietnam supports Hungary expanding its cooperation with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and said that it is also important for Hungary to facilitate cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Prior to the press statement, the Hungarian and Vietnamese parties signed several bilateral agreements in the presence of Prime Minister Orbán and General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó concluded an agreement on citizens’ legal assistance; Minister of State for Defence István Szabó signed an agreement on defence cooperation; Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics concluded an agreement on health industry cooperation; and Minister of State for Education József Bódis signed an agreement on an education cooperation programme. In addition to these, three water industry agreements were also signed at the ceremony.