Hungary has become the first European country to sign a cooperation agreement for China’s "Silk Road" initiative to develop trade and transport infrastructure connecting Asia to Europe.
The countries’ foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding for what China calls its "One Belt, One Road" vision in Budapest, according to a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said China would work together with Hungary to modernise the railway between Belgrade in Serbia and Budapest in Hungary, and to build a "China-Europe land-sea express line", and other major infrastructure.
In 2013 China set out a vision to revive the famous overland trade route to Europe that formed more than 2,000 years ago, but instead of camels and caravans hauling spices and tea, it would be high-speed trains hauling people and modern freight.
Anchoring the plan is a 6,000-km high-speed link from China’s western Xinjiang Province that passes through Central Asia into the heart of Western Europe.
President Xi Jinping said earlier this year he hoped annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing’s plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass $2.5 trillion in a decade, Reuters reported.
Photograph: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a meeting in the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest on 6 June, 2015 (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)