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Viktor Orbán Meets ASEAN Leaders in Brussels

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán attended the summit of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Brussels on Wednesday and held bilateral meetings with ASEAN leaders.

According to the European Council’s statement, the first-ever summit between the leaders of EU and ASEAN member states marked 45 years of diplomatic relations. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the 2022 ASEAN Chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, co-chaired the EU-ASEAN commemorative summit.

The members of the ASEAN group are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In 2012, the Hungarian government announced its Eastern Opening foreign trade/foreign affairs strategy, the main aim of which is to diversify Hungary’s exports geographically, especially towards emerging Asian countries. The ASEAN member states are therefore a priority for Hungarian diplomacy.

The Hungarian prime minister posted a video of the event with the title “economic cooperation instead of sanctions”.

On the sidelines of the summit, Viktor Orbán held talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the main topic of discussion was the strengthening of economic cooperation. According to Viktor Orbán’s press chief, it was noted that the structure of the Hungarian and Thai economies are complementary and not in competition with each other, so cooperation in the fields of investment and trade development could be much more intensive in the future. The Thai prime minister thanked Orbán for the fact that 40 Thai students are receiving scholarships to study in Hungary every year. The two heads of government had invited each other on official visits.

Orbán also met with Phankham Viphavanh, the Prime Minister of Laos. During the meeting, they marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Laos and Hungary, which is also timely given that Laos has recently opened its new embassy in Budapest and Hungary will raise its diplomatic representation in Vientiane to embassy level next year.

The Hungarian prime minister expressed his joy that even in these times of crisis, economic cooperation between Hungary and Laos has been steadily strengthened. They assessed the global political situation, and agreed on the importance of an immediate ceasefire and peace talks in the war in Ukraine, and said that “instead of oil, we must pour cold water on the fire”.

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Photos via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

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