The Hungarian Prime Minister recalled that “the policy of easterly opening stemmed from the idea that we felt that the world was going to change fast, the balance of power was going to change, and Hungary was required to give a response of some kind to the rise of Asia.” In this respect, the visit of the prime minister of Vietnam is extremely important for Hungary; he came from a continent whose rise is unstoppable, and in it Vietnam itself is undergoing a phase of unprecedented development. It is easy to predict that it will be among the winners of the period ahead, Mr Orbán added.
He said all such transformations present opportunities and risks all at once. “In this new world economic system we see enormous opportunities for Hungary, given that as regards its origins, the Hungarian is an eastern people. We belong to the West, but came from the East, we understand that world, and the values that are important there are also important for the Hungarians: respect, equality, family and the service of one’s own nation,” the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed. He added that all the cultural foundations are therefore given in order for Hungary to develop good relations with the world’s rising countries.
According to Hungarian economic data, in the past ten or so years, Asian countries have emerged on the scene first side by side with western countries that have been traditionally active in Hungary, and have then overtaken them, Mr Orbán said in continuation, pointing out that this trend will continue. He expressed hope that Vietnam, too, will join the group of Asian countries that have proved to be successful, the volume of trade will significantly increase, and in addition to trade, “we will also invest in each other’s countries.”
There is a good chance that this endeavour might succeed because the two nations occupy very similar political situations on the world map, the Prime Minister said. In his view, the two countries will have to find their respective places “in similarly complex situations,” in accordance with their respective national interests, and exchanges can be of much help also in this regard.
“It follows from the similarities of our respective situations that we share similar views on the issue of peace as well as on the issue of war. Vietnam lives off the fact that it has won its wars – which inspires respect on our part – while the Hungarians live off the fact that they have survived their defeats, and this, too, is a virtue,” Mr Orbán said.
He congratulated on the Vietnamese government’s performance, recalling that in just five years Vietnam has created 28 million new jobs, and has successfully concluded “a fantastic agreement” with the European Union about free trade. “As Hungary is an extremely open and export-oriented country, this is very important for us,” he observed, adding that by 2030, 99 per cent of bilateral trade will become tariff-free.
Regarding the investment protection agreement between the EU and Vietnam, he said as in the second half of this year Hungary will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, they would like to convince the countries that have not yet ratified the agreement to do so.
“I encouraged the Esteemed Prime Minister to support the appearance in Hungary of Vietnamese investments of the highest possible volume and the widest possible range,” Mr Orbán informed members of the press. He observed that the volume of trade between the two countries is increasing, but they would like this to be supplemented with mutual investments “in order to also produce goods in each other’s countries and to take part in each other’s scientific and research work, too”. At present, more than nine hundred Vietnamese students study in Hungary with Hungarian state scholarships, the Hungarian Prime Minister pointed out.
He said by adding cultural and academic cooperation between the two countries and investment incentive opportunities to the traditional agricultural and health care exports, “we could obtain a large package,” the volume, depth and value of this cooperation is very significant.
Finally, Mr Orbán spoke about the fact that both countries are “war-worn,” and so the two countries’ positions coincide on the issue of peace as well. Vietnam – similar to Hungary – regards peace as the most important value in foreign policy, the Prime Minister stressed, adding that this is why the two countries are able to easily come to an agreement in the case of conflicts emerging in the world, and this is why they find it easy to enter into cooperation at international forums.
“We will stand for peace individually, but if needs be also collectively,” Mr Orbán pointed out. He expressed hope that the war being waged in Hungary’s immediate neighbourhood would be suspended with a ceasefire as soon as possible, and would be concluded with a peace agreement within the shortest possible time.
He thanked the Vietnamese prime minister for the visit, and indicated that on Friday they will hold a joint business and economic forum.