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China sets up 3rd Antarctic research station
Updated: 2009-01-28 16:42

China has set up its third Antarctic research station, also the country's first on the continent's inland, marking a significant step in polar exploration.

The Kunlun station was erected at Dome Argus (Dome A), the pole's highest icecap at 4,093 meters above the sea level, on Tuesday by the country's 25th expedition team to the South Pole.

Chinese President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory telegram to the team, saying that the construction of the station will help China further improve scientific research on the continent.

"It is another great contribution by our country to the human being to unveil the Antarctic mystery," said Hu, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

He encouraged the scientists to make persistent efforts on their research, improve international cooperation, and strive to achieve more scientific results to make greater contributions to human research and the peaceful use of the South Pole.

He also expressed his appreciation of the scientists and extended Lunar New Year greetings to them.

The Kunlun station is designed to cover an area of 558.56 square meters. Its main construction, covering 236 square meters, will be completed by April, when the the expedition team is expected to return.

The station will be used to study glaciology, astronomy, topology, geophysics, atmospheric science and space physics in the Antarctic inland.

It will also be used to explore deep glacier ice core and mountains under the Antarctic ice, and carry out astronomical and terrestrial magnetic observation. It will also research data collected from satellites.

Other studies will include the effects of extreme weather on human psychology and physiology, and medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals.

Chinese researchers made their first trip to Dome A in January 2005. In January 2008, another Chinese Antarctic expedition went there to prepare for the construction of the Kunlun station.

China has so far built two research stations in Antarctica. The Changcheng (Great-Wall) Station, founded in February 1985, is located south of King George Island. The Zhongshan Station, built in February 1989, is located south of Prydz Bay on the Mirror Peninsula, eastern of Larsemann Hills.

Six countries, including the United States, Russia, Japan, France, Italy and Germany, have already built inland research stations in the Antarctica.