Hun­gary speeds up visa process

It is hop­ing to at­tract more Chi­nese business trav­el­ers as well as tourists

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG QINGYUN wangqingyun@chi­nadaily.com.cn Su Zhou con­trib­uted to this story.

Hun­gary has de­cided to speed up the visa pro­ce­dure for Chi­nese trav­el­ers to at­tract more in­vest­ment and tourists from the world’s se­cond-largest econ­omy.

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi, dur­ing a joint news con­fer­ence with his vis­it­ing Hun­gar­ian coun­ter­part Peter Sz­i­j­jarto in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day, an­nounced that Chi­nese business trav­el­ers will be able to get a two-year, mul­ti­ple-en­try visa within 24 hours after ap­ply­ing.

Chi­nese tourists will be able to get a visa within 72 hours, Wang added.

China and Hun­gary were hold­ing the first meet­ing of the bi­lat­eral work group on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in Bei­jing. In­fra­struc­ture in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity, trade and fi­nanc­ing were among the key top­ics.

China has in­vested more than $3.1 bil­lion in Hun­gary, mak­ing it the top des­ti­na­tion in Cen­tral and Eastern Europe for Chi­nese in­vest­ment.

The two coun­tries have also stepped up co­op­er­a­tion in tourism, with a di­rect flight from Bei­jing to Bu­dapest open­ing in May last year, and China set up a tourism of­fice in Bu­dapest in March to boost such co­op­er­a­tion.

In June last year, Hun­gary signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with China on work­ing to­gether to pro­mote the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, be­com­ing the first Euro­pean coun­try to sign such a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with China.

Wang said he hopes the bi­lat­eral work group will be an ex­am­ple for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and other coun­tries to pro­mote the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Sz­i­j­jarto said his coun­try looks for­ward to lead­ing Cen­tral and Eastern Europe in car­ry­ing out co­op­er­a­tion with China, adding that Europe needs to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with China to deal with cur­rent chal­lenges.

He also said Hun­gary will main­tain its com­mit­ment to be­com­ing China’s friendli­est and most trusted part­ner in Europe, and will con­tinue to firmly sup­port China on is­sues of ma­jor con­cern.

Zhao Jun­jie, a re­searcher on Euro­pean stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said Hun­gary needs in­vest­ment and mar­kets for its eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing, and China is an im­por­tant part­ner in this re­gard.

An im­por­tant ex­am­ple of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion is the con­struc­tion of a rail line that is more than 300 kilo­me­ters long and con­nects Bu­dapest and the Ser­bian cap­i­tal of Bel­grade.

Wang Yi­wei, an ex­pert on Euro­pean stud­ies at Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China, said the rail­way will help Hun­gary to over­come the dis­ad­van­tages of be­ing a land­locked coun­try and to seize the op­por­tu­nity to im­prove in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween China and Europe.

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said he hopes the bi­lat­eral work group will be an ex­am­ple for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and other coun­tries to pro­mote the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi (se­cond from right) ges­tures to his Hun­gar­ian coun­ter­part Peter Sz­i­j­jarto in the first meet­ing of the two coun­tries’ work group on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day.

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