By Linda Mottram in Singapore
ABC News Online, 15 November 2009
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is jointly hosting a climate change breakfast on the sidelines of APEC in Singapore, though the Pacific rim leaders have watered down climate change targets in their final statement.
Climate change has been the big new issue on the usually trade-centred agenda of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.
But Chinese officials have confirmed that a plan to include an emissions reduction target of 50 per cent in this year's leaders' statement has been scrapped.
One official said a group of developed countries was the obstacle. Instead, the statement is likely to call for "substantial" emissions cuts.
APEC nations emit 60 per cent of greenhouse gas pollution.
News of the backdown came as Kevin Rudd was to host a climate change breakfast on the sidelines of the summit.
He has also discussed the issue in a range of bilateral meetings, holding talks with the leaders of Mexico, Malaysia and South Korea, while further informal talks could include Indonesia's Prime Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The APEC meeting in Singapore is the last major gathering of global decision-makers before the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in three weeks, which is meant to ramp up efforts to fight climate change.
Yi Xianliang from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who is negotiating in the climate talks, says the 50 per cent reduction did appear in the draft statement, but it was very controversial.
He says the decision to remove the target was a collective decision.
A spokesman for Mr Rudd says he spent time in discussions with South Korea's President Lee Myung Bak.
In the meeting, Mr Rudd raised concern about the recent naval clash between North and South Korean vessels, and voiced his support for Seoul's approach to diplomacy with Pyongyang.
At a business leaders' summit held as part of APEC, he praised the expanded roles of APEC and ASEAN.
Mr Rudd has again argued the need for a forum in Asia to discuss political and security issues, saying it would help build habits of cooperation that underpin peace.
But he says it is still important to have a new grouping to include all issues and all key players.
"Peace and cooperation across our region has been hard fought through the institutions of existing cooperation over recent decades, because the history prior to that is not a happy history at all," he said.
"Therefore we have to encourage through direct institution building these habits of cooperation to become entrenched and normal in the future."
US President Barack Obama has also arrived in Singapore to attend the meeting.
He flew from Japan where he has been pressing on with his mission to repair America's global standing, telling Asians he is determined to engage them as equal partners in the economy, diplomacy and security.
Many of the 21 world leaders arrived for the APEC dinner in old fashioned bicycle rickshaws, pedalled by men in straw hats.