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China to build 3rd research station at Antarctica
Updated: 2004-09-30 13:35

China plans to build a third scientific research station on Antarctica during the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010).

Preparations for site selection will be complete when Chinese scientific workers embark on the 21st expedition to Antarctica, said Wei Wenliang, deputy head of the General Office for Polar Research with the State Oceanic Administration at a function held to celebrate 15th anniversary of establishment of China Polar Research Center (or previously Polar Research Institute of China) based in Shanghai.

According to Wei, the 13-member expedition team, led by Li Yuansheng, a research fellow with China Polar Research Center, will set off October 25 for a 70-day expedition. The team will research an ice cap between the existing Chinese Zhongshan Station and an area known as Doma A, the farthest away from the Antarctic coastline, in hopes of building a temporary observation station at the highest point.

Construction of the third research station will begin after China is approved by at least 28 member states that have signed into the Antarctic Treaty for environmental evaluation, said Wei.

China has so far built two research stations on Antarctica. The Great-Wall Station, founded in February 1985, was the first. Located south of King George Island on the northern part of the Antarctica, the station is capable of accommodating 40 people for a summer expedition and 18 people for winter one.

Zhongshan Station, built in February 1989, is located south of Prydz Bay on the Mirror Peninsula, eastern of Larsemann Hills. This station is capable of accommodating 60 people for summer expedition and 25 people for winter one.

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