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China to launch 8 Antarctic, Arctic expeditions

(Xinhua)

08:13, September 26, 2011

SHANGHAI - China plans to launch five Antarctic research expeditions and another three to the Arctic from 2011 to 2015, said an official with the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) on Sunday.

China will launch the 28th Antarctic research expedition in early November and the fifth to the Arctic in early July 2012, said Qu Tanzhou, director of the CAA, at the annual seminar on China's polar region expedition and research in Shanghai.

In the 2011-2015 period, Chinese researchers will focus on monitoring the weather and environment changes in the polar regions, Qu said.

Qu said climate change in the polar region, particularly that in the Arctic, will inevitably influence China, and the research would benefit the nation's adaptation to climate change.

China plans to build a new icebreaker before 2015, which will form an Arctic-Antarctic maritime research team with Xuelong ("Snow Dragon"), an icebreaker that operated in Antarctica, said Qin Weijia, head of the CAA's committee of the Communist Party of China.

Qin said the plan to build the new icebreaker has already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner.

China will have two icebreakers concurrently operating at both the north and south poles, Qin said.

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