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International relations

Europe looks to bolster Indo-Pacific ties as Cambodia hosts ASEM

Thorny issues abound as country sanctioned by EU leads first summit in 3 years

Europe has sanctioned the government of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen -- host of this week's virtual Asia-Europe Meeting -- over his clampdown on political opposition. (Source photos by AP and Reuters)

BANGKOK -- European and Asian leaders are set to gather virtually for a two-day meeting beginning Thursday, with the former expected to strengthen broad Indo-Pacific ties in a break from their past China-centric approach.

The first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in three years offers Europe a chance to deepen economic relations as the world gradually emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. But several contentious issues hang over the proceedings, including human rights, European Union sanctions on host country Cambodia, Taiwan tensions and the well-being of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

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