Cambodia, host of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting scheduled for early June, has postponed the political forum's biennial summit until later this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
"The retreat unanimously supported Cambodia to reschedule ASEM13 to the last quarter of 2021 due to the unabated risks posed by COVID-19," the ministry said in a statement.
Cambodia proposed that the date be either late October or early November.
"The postponement is to ensure not only the safety of ASEM leaders attending the summit but also their meaningful interactions as well as a frank and constructive exchange of views on regional and global issues of common interest that can only be done in a physical setting," the statement said.
The summit was initially slated to be held in November 2020, but Cambodia decided last July to postpone it until this spring due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
ASEM brings together 51 countries from across Europe and Asia -- 30 from Europe and 21 from Asia -- which collectively account for 60 percent of the global population as well as the same percentage of the global economy and international trade.
The United States is not a member of the framework. The last biennial ASEM summit took place in Brussels in October 2018, with leaders from Japan, China and Russia taking part.