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PHNOM PENH, Nov 20 AAP

November 20 2012, 09:37AM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will hold talks on trade and security with US President Barack Obama and other leaders at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Cambodia on Tuesday.

Ms Gillard on Monday night attended a gala dinner at Diamond Island convention centre in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, at which leaders were decked out in Batik shirts.

She was seen to laugh and smile with the newly re-elected President Obama as they both sat next to the host leader, Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen.

The dinner featured a display of Khmer dancing, with women dressed in lavish costumes.

On Tuesday morning the prime minister will sit down with Mr Obama and other leaders involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations at the Peace Palace, before the more formal East Asia Summit discussions start.

Ms Gillard plans to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on the sidelines of the summit.

She will announce Australia will fund a $50 million program to combat people-trafficking in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The EAS leaders are expected to announce, in the final communique on Tuesday, that talks will start on a new economic pact known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Trade officials are keen to conclude the talks by 2015, with the ambition of creating an Asia-Pacific free trade zone in the long-term.

There will also be talks on resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea, improving health particularly in regard to malaria, and tackling nuclear weapon proliferation.

By Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer