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European and Asian leaders gathered at the National Convention Centre in the Laos capital on Monday (November 5) for the start of a two-day summit that's expected to focus on free trade and the Eurozone's debt crisis.
The Asia-Europe meeting officially admitted Bangladesh, Switzerland and Norway as new members at the ninth ASEM summit in Vientiane.
A brief ceremony was held to mark the accession of the three countries into the ASEM forum.
China and Japan are not expected to hold meetings in light of the row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
ASEM has 52 partners in Asia and Europe and was established in 1996.