PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Xinhua) — Cambodia, the host of the 13th ASEM Summit (ASEM13), has decided to reschedule anew the ASEM13 to the last quarter of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a foreign ministry statement on Thursday.
The statement was released after the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Retreat via videoconference on March 1-2, which was chaired by Foreign Ministry’s Secretary of State Luy David, who is the ASEM SOM Leader for Cambodia, with the participation from SOM Leaders of all ASEM partners.
“The Retreat unanimously supported Cambodia to reschedule the ASEM13 to the last quarter of 2021 due to the unabated risks posed by COVID-19,” the statement said.
“Moreover, the postponement is to ensure not only the safety of ASEM Leaders attending the Summit but also their meaningful interactions as well as frank and constructive exchange of views on regional and global issues of common interest that can only be done in a physical setting,” it added.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 16-17, 2020 in capital Phnom Penh, the summit had been first delayed to mid-2021.
ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) is comprised of 53 partners, encompassing of 21 Asian countries, 30 European countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the European Commission.
Collectively, ASEM partners represent 65 percent of the global economy, 60 percent of the world’s population, 55 percent of the world trade and 75 percent of the world tourism.
ASEM was founded in 1996 and Cambodia became its member in 2004.