US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto (right) address a joint press conference in Budapest on February 11, 2019. Pompeo is on his one-day official visit to Hungary, at the first station of his four-day official visit to Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)
BUDAPEST - Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Monday that as a solid and trustful NATO member state, Hungary can have good relations with China and Russia.
Patriotic politics, national interest come first, and it is our fundamental duty to guarantee the security of our own citizens
Foreign Minister, Hungary
The minister made the remarks when meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a joint press conference held here.
Szijjarto said Hungary's exports to China only account for 1.2 percent of those from the European Union (EU), and German and British companies are the main partners of China in the EU.
As for Russia, the minister asked critics to stop "being hypocritical," as "the North-stream gas line with Russia was being built by German firms, and not Hungarians."
Szijjarto said the economic and defense cooperation between Hungary and the US had existed before, but a new rebuilding of ties started in political relations since the Trump administration.
"Our governments share similar approach on many political, international issues," Szijjarto said. "Patriotic politics, national interest come first, and it is our fundamental duty to guarantee the security of our own citizens."
Pompeo warned its NATO ally Hungary about having close relations with Russia and China. "Autocratic Russia has never been a friend of any small Central European nations during the last 300 years," Pompeo said.
"The previous administration was a no-show," Pompeo added. "For decades we have done nothing, and it is no wonder that in the void, the competition came in."
Pompeo had a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The top US diplomat is on a Central European tour, visiting Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
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