Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő visited China to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. During the Minister’s visit, memoranda of understanding were signed with relation to the field of internal monitoring and cooperation between military healthcare services.
Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő was received in Beijing with full military honours on Tuesday. The Minister visited the Asian country at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe. At the plenary session held within the framework of the meeting, it was stated that the two countries established diplomatic relations 70 years ago, in the same year in the which the People’s Republic of China was founded, and the development of these relations is now occurring at a higher level and with a greater intensity than ever before.
This is indicated by the fact that the two heads of government have met in official form every year since 2011, and in 2017 raised their cooperation to the level of strategic partnership. Mr. Benkő pointed out that the One Belt, One Road initiative announced by Premier Xi Jinping in 2013 is in harmony with Hungary’s Eastern Opening policy, a fact which has greatly contributed to the further development of relations.
Minister Wei Fenghe praised the excellent cooperation realised between the two countries thus far, which is also underpinned by the two memoranda of understanding signed during the meeting. During a review of the European, regional and Hungarian security situation, it was stated that its dramatic deterioration has led to NATO’s role in Europe becoming significantly more important, parallel to which the defence capabilities of European nation states must also be increased. The Minister drew attention to the fact that in the meantime terrorism and mass illegal migration are having a directly negative effect on the security of European citizens.
The Minister also informed his host of the fact that Hungary’s government is doing a lot to ensure that Hungary is currently one of the safest countries in Europe, and the Hungarian Defence Force is undertaking a significant role in this.
Mr. Benkő also spoke about the fact that the challenges of the 21st century are extremely complex, including several of a military nature. Hungary lies at the intersection of eastern and southern challenges, but the priority for Hungary is the handling of challenges from the south posed by non-state actors, such as curbing illegal migration and cyber-vulnerability.
He also said that the negative shift in the security environment necessitates the development of the Hungarian military, with relation to which he noted that in the upcoming years the Hungarian Defence Force is experiencing a level of military restructuring and capacity development that has not been seen for decades. The most important goal, the Minister continued, is for the Hungarian Defence Force to be completely capable of assuring Hungary’s independence and territorial inviolability, and the military defence of its borders.
The Hungarian Defence Minister emphasised that Hungary remains committed to peacekeeping operations and is supporting action against terrorism and the maintaining of peace in the world’s conflict zones. “This is also corroborated by the fact that according to a January 2019 decision Hungary is increasing the number of its military personnel involved in peacekeeping missions from 1000 to 1200. Hungarian soldiers are present in Iraq, Afghanistan, the African continent and the Western Balkans, which is of key importance with relation to the security of the Central European region”, he added.
With relation to opportunities for the further development of bilateral military cooperation, the parties spoke about the fact that Hungary regards the visit of the former Chinese Defence Minister in 2013 as a milestone, during the course of the which the parties agreed to commence an annual strategic dialogue between the countries’ two defence ministries. The patties agreed that this strategic dialogue is greatly contributing to the further development of trust and the tightening of military relations. Opportunities for the expansion of cooperation are primarily available within the fields of military healthcare, internal monitoring, training and education, and the preparation of peacekeepers.
Following the negotiations, the parties signed memoranda of understanding with relation to the field of internal monitoring and cooperation between military healthcare services, in addition to which Tibor Benkő invited his Chinese counterpart to visit Hungary.
As part of the official programme, on the first day of the visit the Hungarian delegation was received by Deputy Director General of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission Superior Colonel Baoqun Zhang, following which the delegation toured the base of the 3rd Garrison Division of the People’s Liberation Armed Forces and viewed a tactical demonstration by the military unit.
Disclaimer: This article was originally produced and published by the Website of the Hungarian Government. View the original article at the Website of the Hungarian Government.