Hungary’s Orbán makes surprise visit to China after trips to Russia and Ukraine


BEIJING (AP) — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will make a surprise visit to China on Monday, following similar trips to Russia and Ukraine to discuss prospects for a peaceful solution in Ukraine.

“Peace mission 3.0” is how Orbán captioned a photo he posted on social media platform X on Monday morning, showing him disembarking from a plane in Beijing, greeted by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Hua Chunying and other officials.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, Orbán later met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

His previously unannounced visit follows similar trips last week to Moscow and Kiev, where he suggested Ukraine agree to an immediate ceasefire with Russia.

His visit to Moscow was condemned by Kiev and European leaders.

“The number of countries that can talk to both sides of the war is decreasing,” Orbán said. “Hungary is slowly becoming the only country in Europe that can talk to everyone.”

Hungary took over the EU’s rotating presidency in early July, and Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Orbán had come to Moscow as a top representative of the European Council. Several top European officials rejected that suggestion, saying Orbán had no mandate for anything other than a discussion on bilateral relations.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, who is widely regarded as having the warmest relations with Putin among EU leadershas routinely blocked, delayed or weakened EU efforts to help Kiev and impose sanctions on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine. He has long called for a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, but without outlining what that might mean for the country’s territorial integrity or future security.

This stance has frustrated Hungary’s EU and NATO allies, who have condemned Russia’s actions as a violation of international law and a threat to the security of Eastern European countries.

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