Cambodia will host the 13th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit (ASEM13) on Nov. 25 and 26 via videoconference, according to a foreign ministry's statement on Tuesday.
Cambodia will host the summit virtually given that the COVID-19 pandemic still prevails and emerging variants trigger new waves in many parts of the world, including Cambodia, said Foreign Ministry's secretary of state Luy David, who is the ASEM Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) leader for Cambodia, according to the statement.
"The decision has been made based on the recommendation of the National Committee for Combatting COVID-19 that a physical summit is neither safe for ASEM leaders to attend nor practical as the virus continues to rage on while travel restrictions are being re-imposed by many countries," it said.
The statement was released after the ASEM SOM was held via videoconference last week, the statement said, adding that the meeting was attended by all 51 ASEM SOM leaders as well as the representatives from the European Union, ASEAN Secretariat, and Asia-Europe Foundation.
The meeting substantively discussed the draft of the Phnom Penh Statement on the Post-COVID-19 Socio-Economic Recovery, which will be one of the two outcome documents to be adopted at the ASEM13, the statement said.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 16-17, 2020 in capital Phnom Penh, the summit had been twice postponed due to the pandemic.
ASEM is comprised of 53 partners, including 21 Asian countries, 30 European countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the European Union.
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.