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U.S. Secretary of State: China and Russia Seek To Erode Freedom in Central Europe

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The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Hungary on Monday and issued a warning to the former Soviet states in Central Europe. Further, Pompeo said that China and Russia do not share our joint aspirations of freedom.

During the Secretary of State’s visit, a joint press conference took place with Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto, in which, Pompeo stated that China and Russia seek to “erode freedom” in Central Europe.

Pompeo said during the press conference; “We must not let Putin drive wedges between friends in NATO. Hungarians know all too well from their history that an authoritarian Russia will never be a friend to the freedom and sovereignty of smaller nations,” Pompeo said. “Russia’s not the only power that wants to erode freedom in this region. I raised with Peter today the dangers of allowing China to gain a bridgehead in Hungary, and we talked openly about how we might work together on that issue.”

In response to Pompeo’s comments regarding Russian and Chinese influence into the Hungarian nation, Szijiarto stated; “We are NATO allies,” Szijjarto said. “When it comes to cooperation with Russia or cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, that doesn’t endanger us being a reliable partner to the United States and to NATO.”

Regardless of the open rebuttals by both parties during their segments of commentary, both leaders displayed friendship. Pompeo celebrated the signing of a defense cooperation agreement with the NATO member-state, while Szijjarto, whose government, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is the staunchest opponent of migration within the European Union, stressed that Orban and Trump have the “same stance in general questions” with their shared belief that “national interest is first,” as he put it through a translator. “There’s been a rapid improvement or a rebuilding of our political ties,” Szijjarto said.

Pompeo further celebrated the rebuilding of ties between the two nations; “Americans and Hungarians have always stood together in the pursuit of freedom, and that tradition continues today, which is why I am so proud of the American engagement in this country in the Trump administration.” 

Further, Pompeo warned about Hungary’s political handshake with China; “There’s an experience of states in the Asia-Pacific region that shows that Beijing’s handshake sometimes comes with strings — strings that will leave Hungary indebted both economically and politically.”

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