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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has addressed the ninth China-Central and Eastern Europe summit, addressing topics such as the race for the coronavirus vaccine, constructive cooperation between East and West and world trade.

The conference was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Orbán thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for convening the meeting amid trying circumstances. The pandemic, which started a year ago, “wrenched us out of our comfort zones and started a whole new era in world economic and global politics while also posing a dual challenge to governments: they had to protect the lives and jobs of their people at the same time,” Orbán said. Like in the early stages of the pandemic, “the whole world” is competing to buy a commodity in short supply, Orbán said. “At the start of the pandemic, it was masks and ventilators, now it is the vaccine,” he said. The ultimate solution to the crisis will be the vaccine, he said. “It is the lives of our citizens and the revival of our economy that is at stake,” he said, calling for “more constructive East-West cooperation based on mutual respect and good will”. Concluding an agreement between the European Union and China aimed at ensuring mutual protection for investments would be “a good step in that direction”, he added.