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Vietnam’s Prime Minister arrives in Budapest for Hungary’s three-day visit
Minh Nguyen 21:55, 2024/01/18
The visit is of significance for the traditional partners, presenting chances for cross-sector cooperation.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has arrived in Budapest to begin a three-day visit at the invitation of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, making it the first visit paid by a Vietnamese Prime Minister to Hungary in 15 years.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse Le Thi Bich Tran arrive in Budapest, Hungary on January 18. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP 

Prime Minister Chinh’s schedule in Hungary includes meetings with high-ranking officials, visiting some socio-economic facilities, attending the Vietnam-Hungry Business Forum, meeting some representatives of friendship organizations, meeting representatives of the Vietnamese diplomatic mission and the Vietnamese community in the Central-Eastern European country.

The prime ministers will witness the signing of several agreements in foreign affairs, culture, water management, and cooperation among tertiary institutions.

The visit is expected to boost political trust, strengthen traditional relations, renew cooperation, boost partnerships in new fields, and tighten the relationship between Vietnamese and Hungarian peoples.

This makes Prime Minister Chinh the first guest of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2024. There would be a meeting between the government leaders, the first of its kind since the two countries upgraded relations to a comprehensive partnership in 2018.

 Vietnamese people greet the Prime Minister and his spouse at the airport.

Revitalizing the traditional relationship  

The visit, which comes at a time when the two countries look forward to celebrating the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2025, would result in changes to enhance the relations between the two countries, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Hungary Nguyen Thi Bich Thao.

She said Prime Minister Chinh’s visit concretized Vietnam’s foreign policy, which treasured long-lasting friends. Hungary is the only Central European country that has comprehensive relations with Vietnam.

The two countries have increased trade and investment over the past years, making Vietnam the leading Southeast Asian exporter to Hungary for three consecutive years 2020, 2021, and 2022, with some staples having a high market share, such as cashew hut accounting for 40%, cinnamon 18%, coffee 13.8%, rice 6%, and pepper 5%.

Vietnam’s exports likely increase in the coming time thanks to the demand and customers’ choices.

Prof. Vu Hoang Linh, Chairman of the Vietnam-Hungary Friendship Association and principal of Vietnam National University – University of Science, said Hungary is Vietnam’s most important traditional partner in Central and Eastern Europe. The 74-year-old friendship and diverse cooperation between Vietnam and Hungary have grown significantly, particularly in the last few years.

The Hungary-trained scholar stressed the importance of education, science, and health, saying they are significant to the bilateral relations in addition to diplomacy, politic, and economic ties. He reminded Hungary that they trained thousands of Vietnamese scientists, lecturers, engineers, and experts. Currently, Hungary offers about 200 scholarships for Vietnamese post-graduates per year.

He said the community of approximately 6,000 Vietnamese people in Hungary plays an important role in enhancing cooperation in tourism and culture and people-to-people exchange. Both Vietnam and Hungary have good tourism industries that would be leading destinations in Southeast Asia and Central Europe, respectively.

The scholar also valued decentralized cooperation between localities of the two countries, including sister cities of Son Tay Town in Hanoi and District 3 of Budapest, Tay Ho District of Hanoi and District 16 of Budapest, Hoi An of Quang Nam Province with Szentendre City, Can Tho and Kaposvár City.

Meanwhile, Zsigmond Barna Pál, member of the National Assembly of Hungary, said PM Chinh’s visit is of significance for both, opening opportunities for cooperation in various sectors. Hungary and Vietnam enjoy excellent relations at the moment, and Hungary hopes to deepen their cooperation in all spheres of life: politics, culture, and economy, the lawmaker said.

He stressed that the visit becomes more significant as Hungary will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from July to December 2024 with a focus on increasing the bloc’s competitiveness which is closely related to Vietnam. Hungary actively boosts the enforcement of the European Union–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Promoting competitiveness will encourage the EU and Vietnam to deepen their current economic ties, which will benefit both. Hungary will endeavor to further the common interest to the greatest extent possible, Zsigmond Barna Pál stated.

Hungary is the first EU member state to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and it is making efforts to encourage the ratification of this agreement by other EU members as soon as possible, he said. 

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