China plans new Arctic expedition
China will continue its presence in the Arctic and plans to launch its sixth expedition to the region in 2013.
The country also works to build more Antarctic research bases and plans to launch its 30th expedition to the Antarctic this year, the State Oceanic Administration of China announced at a national maritime conference last week.
In a document circulating at the conference, the Oceanic Administration underlined the need for further research efforts for the protection of the country's strategic interests in the Arctic region, Xinhuanet reports.
In 2012 the icebreaker “Xue Long” (Snow Dragon) became the first Chinese polar expedition to sail all along the Northern Sea Route into the Barents Sea. Upon return the vessel sailed a straight line from Iceland to the Bering Strait via the North Pole, the so-called “future central Arctic shipping route”.
In 2004, China set up its first and only Arctic scientific research base, Yellow River Station, on Svalbard Island of Norway.