After meetings all week, the officials were gathering again to try to reach a compromise for leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to read out at their weekend summit.

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Host Australian Prime Minister John Howard had flagged climate change as a key pillar in the agenda and pressed for a tough statement outlining targets for cutting greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

China leads opposition

But China and other developing nations have said it is not up to Australia and the United States — the only two industrialised countries to have refused to sign the Kyoto treaty on curbing emissions — to set targets.

Chinese President Hu Jintao led the opposition here, saying Thursday that the United Nations must take the lead in agreeing a new framework to replace the Kyoto accord when it expires in 2012.

"There is still no consensus on setting numerical targets and timeframes," says the source, who asked not to be named.

‘Aspirational goals’

An early Australian draft of what the statement should look like says APEC leaders would agree to cutting down "energy intensity" by 25 percent by 2030.

It had also set "aspirational goals" for the 21 APEC member economies to follow on reducing greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

"Indonesia's position from the beginning is that each country has its own rights to set its own targets as national policy," Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu says.

"But when you come to setting international targets, then it belongs to the UNFCCC discussions," she says, referring to a UN climate change forum that will meet in the Indonesian resort of Bali in December to lay the groundwork for a post-Kyoto framework.

Climate talks expose tensions