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Hungary increases its Huawei ties while rejecting pressure on Chinese companies

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Hungary is strengthening its ties with Huawei Technologies and Chinese battery manufacturers, defying international pressure to cut economic ties with China, particularly in the telecommunications sector.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced in Beijing on Monday that Huawei will sponsor a scholarship program at Hungary’s Public Service University in Budapest, which prepares students for careers in government. He stated that the emphasis will be on 5G research and innovation.

“We maintain our position on global telecommunications providers, namely that we do not exclude companies from competition based on their country of origin,” Szijjarto said after meeting with Huawei officials, according to a Facebook post.

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Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration has consistently rejected US and EU pressure to cut telecommunications links over fears that Chinese security services may monitor the flow of information, an allegation that companies such as Huawei have repeatedly denied.

“We want to constantly develop European Union and Chinese cooperation,” Szijjarto stated. “Obviously, that cannot happen if the EU places Chinese firms on a list for sanctions or export controls.”

Szijjarto made the remarks in a Facebook post ahead of a meeting with Yuqun Zeng, chairman of battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd, which announced a €7.3 billion ($7.9 billion) investment in Hungary last year.

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Hungary is widely regarded as having one of the most pro-China governments in the EU, and it is a partner in China’s global infrastructure initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative.

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