Wang Yi Meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday called for speeding up the Hungary-Serbia railway project and deepening cooperation in various fields, while meeting here with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó.

Hungary is an important partner of China in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the European Union, Wang said, while meeting with Szijjártó on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in the Mongolian capital.

China is willing to work with Hungary to accelerate the Hungary-Serbia railway project under the Belt and Road Initiative, Wang said.

When the planned Hungary-Serbia railway is completed by the end of 2017 as scheduled, the journey from Belgrade, capital of Serbia, to Budapest, capital of Hungary, will be shortened from six hours to less than three.

The 350-km railroad, 184 km of which will run in Serbia, is designed for electrified passenger and cargo trains whose maximum speed could reach 200 km per hour.

It is being constructed by a consortium of Chinese, Serbian and Hungarian companies, representing a flagship project between the world's second largest economy and CEE countries.

Meanwhile, Wang said China stands ready to facilitate cooperation with Hungary in agriculture, husbandry, tourism, culture and education.

Szijjártó, for his part, said Hungarian export to China has risen rapidly and more Chinese tourists are visiting Hungary.

Hungary hopes to strengthen bilateral practical cooperation, speed up the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway project, expand agricultural and husbandry exports to China and enhance cooperation in tourism and aviation, Szijjártó said.

He also welcomed China to establish Chinese culture centers in Hungary.

On China-Europe ties, Wang said both sides have maintained a sound overall relationship, adding that China hopes and believes that Hungary will continue its active role in promoting China-Europe relations.

China highly values its ties with CEE countries and will work to upgrade cooperation with them, Wang said.

Szijjártó said the EU and China should speed up negotiations on an EU-China investment treaty and Hungary stands ready to contribute to promoting the EU-China ties.

Wang also reiterated China's stance on the South China Sea issue. Szijjártó said the disputes should be resolved by directly concerned parties, and external pressure does little to promote a peaceful settlement.

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