13th Asia-Europe Meeting to Begin in Cambodia

The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will convene today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The ASEM is a biannual forum which aims

China EU

Photo: Bank of China

The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will convene today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The ASEM is a biannual forum which aims to deepen political and economic cooperation amongst its member states. While leaders from Europe and Asia will attend the two-day conference to discuss global problems such as climate change, its highly likely for heated debates to occur concerning the conflicting Indo-Pacific strategies of China and the EU.

Although the EU and China will gain ground on items such as finalizing the comprehensive agreement on investment and taking collective action to create an energy-secure future, the platform will also become a stage for both sides to appease member states. This will further deepen the polarization within ASEM during the short- to medium-term. Here, China will strive to deepen its relations with Cambodia by increasing Cambodian raw material imports and pushing to secure agreements to further liberalize investments.

Moving forward, Beijing will aim to implement a similar model to its “iron clad” relations with Cambodia to further strengthen its relations with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  In this framework—apart from reducing trade tariffs—Beijing is preparing for hefty long-term investments in-line with its Belt and Road Initiative.

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