Hungary signs up to China's 'Silk Road' initiative

Hungary has become the first European country to sign a cooperation agreement for China's new "Silk Road" initiative to develop trade and transport infrastructure across Asia and beyond, the foreign ministry said.

The countries' foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding for what is formally known as the "One Belt, One Road" project in Budapest, the ministry added. China welcomes more European countries to look East, and strengthen cooperation with the mainland and other Asian countries.

Foreign minister Wang Yi said there are various ways to participate in the "One Belt, One Road" project. President Xi Jinping added earlier this year he hoped annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass US$2.5 trillion (HK$19.5 trillion) in a decade.

Hungary hopes to closely cooperate with China and push on with the Hungarian-Serbia railway and other big construction projects, Hungary's President Janos Ader said.

China is helping fund and build a railway connecting Hungary and Serbia. Projects under the plan include a network of railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links across central, west and south Asia to as far as Greece, Russia and Oman, increasing China's connections to Europe and Africa.