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South-east Asian leaders visit Australia

WHY REGIONAL LEADERS ARE COMING TO AUSTRALIA?

* Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has invited leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a special summit in Sydney, March 17-18

* ASEAN has 10 members - Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei and Laos

What's on the agenda?

* Strategic issues such as tensions in the South China Sea, enforcing sanctions on North Korea and the rules-based international order

* Economic ties and free trade

* Counter-terrorism, including threat posed by Islamic extremist foreign fighters returning from Middle East and terrorist financing

* Education links

Who's expected to come?

* Indonesian President Joko Widodo

* Myanmar defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi

* Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

* Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

* Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

* Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith

* Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

* Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

* Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

Who's staying home?

* Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will instead attend a military graduation ceremony at home, in a move some analysts say is about avoiding scrutiny of his war on drugs which has killed 12,000 people

Controversies?

* Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to beat up protesters if they burnt effigies of him at the summit. Ahead of a July election, Cambodia is on a spiral of authoritarianism following last year's ban on the main opposition party, the arrest of the opposition leader and forced the closure of an English-language newspaper.

* Myanmar defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing criticism for her handling of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people in the troubled Rakhine state. More than 700,000 Rohingya people have poured across the border into Bangladesh refugee camps since last August following a military crackdown.

* Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak could be prickly during his meeting with Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Turnbull's son Alex turned whistleblower while working for Goldman Sachs in Singapore.The Wall Street bank's work with a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB, has been under the spotlight, and the US government alleges that billions of dollars earmarked for investments were diverted for the personal use of Malaysian elites including Mr Najib - a claim he denies.