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March 9, 2010

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Responding to globalization

PETER Medgyessy, born in 1942, Budapest, was Prime Minister of Hungary between May 2002 and September 2004. He travelled to China in 1987, 1992 and 1997, before making a state visit in August 2003 as the premier of Hungary.

At the beginning of the 21st century, whether we want it or not, globalization and the financial and economic crisis have become the greatest challenges for all economic and political alliances.

Basically two kinds of responses have emerged to globalization. One is the modernization response. This does not run away from globalization as a challenge; rather it uses it to develop the economy and to improve economic and social competitiveness. The other kind of response is built on illusions; it is the closed, nationalistic, radical response, in many cases clothed in the cloak of religion. In the Far East, the response still remains to be seen.

Obviously, China has chosen its own way: quick and successful modernization.

The history of the past few decades proved that it has been a correct choice, given the fact that China is now regarded more and more as a key factor in the world economy and even of world politics. This idea was clearly pointed out by the G-20 Pittsburgh summit in 2009.

Of course, the process of social and economic modernization shows some particularities. I am convinced that the processes of modernization, change and reform are of fundamental importance in China, as proven by the opening-up and reform policies introduced 31 years ago. Naturally, progress has its own pathways and manners in Europe, China, the US, India or in the Arab region. I think that everyone should respect this on the basis of high cultural tradition.


Asia is a dynamic region and will be the key driver of global growth and prosperity in the year to come. The spectacular and fast economic growth of China is one of the most important guarantees for the development of Shanghai, and Shanghai is both a part and an engine of this development.

The contacts between Hungary and China date back several hundred years. In modern times, the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and the progress those relations have made prove the stability of our friendship. It is a great pleasure and satisfaction for me that since 2002 - when Hungary launched the New Asia policy during my term as Prime Minister - political and cultural contacts, economic and human relations have strengthened and intensified with China and the Far East region in general, including Shanghai. I am profoundly convinced that Shanghai deserves to be the venue of the World Expo 2010. This city is a symbol of achievement, hard work, persistence and long-term foresight. It has shown the world an example of how thousand-year traditions may be harmonized with quick change, development and new, courageous initiatives. I am sure the World Expo Shanghai will be a great success, offering an opportunity for a dialogue between different parts of the world for peaceful, friendly cooperation.


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