President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday found another safe zone in a continent increasingly wary of his country, meeting in Budapest with the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, the European Union’s perennial odd man out as a vocal supporter of warm relations with both China and Russia.

As happened at his previous stop in Serbia, Mr. Xi received a red-carpet welcome and was spared from protesters, with his motorcade from the airport on Wednesday evening taking a roundabout route into the Hungarian capital, avoiding a small group of Tibetan demonstrators.

Police banned a protest planned for Thursday in the center of Budapest and a Tibetan flag that had been hoisted on a hill overlooking the venue of a welcome reception was covered with a Chinese one.

After their talks on Thursday ended, Mr. Xi and Mr. Orban held what was billed as a news conference, but it consisted of their reading statements without taking questions, a format preferred by the Chinese leader, who avoids unscripted media encounters.

They pledged to elevate already-friendly relations to an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” — a sharp divergence from the view of China held by the European Union, of which Hungary is a member, as “a partner for cooperation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival.”

Mr. Orban, under fire from many fellow European leaders for pushing what he calls a “policy of peace” in Ukraine — effectively a demand that its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, capitulate to avoid further bloodshed — offered “special thanks” to Mr. Xi for “the steps that the People’s Republic of China is taking to create peace.”


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