Vol. 2 (2019)

THE PAST AND THE FUTURE OF HUNGARY'S DIPLOMATIC
AND TRADE RELATIONS WITH EAST ASIA 

It is my sincere pleasure to recommend to you our newly published book which comprises a selection of the best papers of PhD students attending the conference on February 18, 2019 organized by the Oriental Business and Innovation Centre (OBIC) of Budapest Business School on the triple anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

In 2019 we can look back over one and a half centuries to when Hungary established diplomatic relations with Japan. In 1949, Hungary was one of the first states to recognize the People's Republic of China and in 1989, on the eve of the change of the political and economic system and just shortly after the International Olympic Games in Seoul, Hungary was the very first country of the once socialist bloc to establish a diplomatic relationship with the Republic of Korea.

Ever since the ancient Hungarians came down the Carpathian Mountains on horseback and founded the Hungarian state, Hungary has been a part of European history and has shaped the fate of the continent, sometimes with a greater, sometimes with a smaller influence. Hungary has been present on the political, economic and cultural map of Europe for 1,100 years. Hungarians have learned how to adapt to the given circumstances, and how to make progress, as well as how to give and take. Right at the beginning of their newly founded state, the Hungarians were converted to Christianity, and this provided a framework for the flourishing of Hungarian culture and intellectual life for about one thousand years.

Both in terms of political and economic life present day Hungary is fully integrated into Europe, and in 2019 we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hungary becoming a member of the European Union and the 20th anniversary of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Hungary's main investors are European companies and nearly four fifths of Hungarian foreign trade turnover is done with European countries.

In spite of all this, Hungarians are proudly aware that their ancestors originated from Asia, and therefore feel emotionally close to Asian nations. However, not only the positive emotions but also well-defined political and economic considerations bring Hungary closer to Japan, China, Korea and other Asian nations. In terms of political goals, I think we share common responsibility for the future of mankind. Global security is undividable; therefore, we should combat together, hand in hand against climate change, trans-boundary criminality, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, illegal immigration, human trafficking and other kinds of global problems. This is the solid common ground on which we share common values and interests. On the other hand, Hungary recognizes and pays respect to the spectacular economic development and achievements of the East and Southeast Asian economies: Japan, the Asian Newly Industrialized Economies, the People's Republic of China, and most of the ten members of ASEAN. The East and Southeast Asian regions-together with India and South Asia-are not only the most populous regions of the world, but the most rapidly growing economies, where purchasing power has also been continuously growing. It is not a brand-new issue that Hungary seeks for new markets, investors, investment possibilities in Asia, moreover these endeavours have gained new impetus since 2012 when the Hungarian government proclaimed its Eastbound Opening strategy. This policy favourably coincides with our partners' interest and initiatives, like the Belt and Road global development strategy initiated by the President of China, H.E. Xi Jinping in 2013.

The horizon and the prospective of the future co-operation between Asia and Europe, including Hungary seem to be unlimited. A new generation of free trade agreements facilitates the trade between the European Union and Japan and also with the Republic of Korea, but we can also talk about new generations of professionals, including our students, who are travelling more and more to Asia or starting to learn Chinese, Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages. My vision is that in one or two decades, hundreds of Hungarian businessmen, engineers, medical doctors and other professionals will be fluent in Asian languages, not just attained to get well paid jobs at Asian companies, but they will be the catalysts of the future enhancement of the friendly relations between Hungary and Asian nations.

This book comprises seven studies covering various parts of the broad field of Hungaro-Asian relationships and co-operation. I sincerely hope that the esteemed reader will find these studies not just interesting but also beneficial. The results and conclusions may provide the reader with new ideas that could be starting points for further discussions and research.

Online available form of the book: