Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, 8th June. The meeting follows Orbán’s visits to Russia and Ukraine in the past week, and comes a day before NATO’s 75th anniversary summit.

Orbán is by far the most Russia-friendly leader in the EU, and threatens to undermine the European effort for Ukraine in the war. This new move indicates Orbán’s high regard for China, which he has dubbed ‘Peace Mission 3.0’ on the social media platform X.

Hungary has already allowed various Chinese companies and offices to be set up in its country, an overture that marks a stark departure from popular EU policy against Chinese interference in trade. Furthermore, Orbán has recently taken over the EU presidency, though the EU High Representative Josep Borell has made it clear that Orbán’s trip to Russia has not received any mandate from the EU and is a purely bilateral affair.

Unlike the rest of the EU, Hungary has thus far refused to send weapons to Kyiv, but has continued trade with Russia through the war. China, which has also refused export of lethal weapons to Ukraine, presents potential for a strong alliance for Orbán, though today’s visit has flared concerns of Hungary’s stray away from European foreign and defence policies.

It is important to watch these events unfold in Europe, because they can cause concern for Europe as well as influence the outcomes of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Sources: Financial Times, FirstPost

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