State agency: Japan's media falsely says China seeks Arctic resources

15:28, September 07, 2010      

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Officials from China's State Oceanic Administration dismissed Japanese media reports of China actively preparing for the development of Arctic resources and said that it was "purely subjective speculation without any factual basis" on Sept. 6.

Japan-based Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sept. 4 that the Chinese Arctic scientific expedition ended its fourth scientific exploration at the North Pole last week and that China is actively preparing for the development of the North Pole, and it seems that the scientific expedition also launched resource exploration projects during the scientific exploration.

The report also pointed out that China is trying to establish a base at the North Pole to obtain necessary resources. It also quoted remarks of Japanese diplomats that the purpose of China's Arctic scientific exploration is to ensure its voice as a non-coastal country through collecting the Arctic data.

"Related reports from Japanese media are purely subjective speculation without any factual basis," said Wang Yong, director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration under China's State Oceanic Administration, according to Xinhua News Agency.

"Some people in Japan attempt to distort China's normal Arctic scientific exploration and make it about an economic purpose or even a political purpose," Wang said.

China has organized three previous Arctic scientific expeditions in 1999, 2003 and in 2008.

Wang said the purpose of China's Arctic exploration activity is to research the effects of the Arctic climate change on the climate in China. It purely belongs to the area of natural sciences, and there is no research being conducted on resource exploration and development in the expedition plan.

"Furthermore, the research vessel named 'Snow Dragon' used for the scientific expedition mission is not capable of resource exploration," Wang said.

Wang also said that the Chinese Arctic expedition's objectives and implementation as well as international cooperation are open and transparent. For example, in each of the four Arctic expeditions, China has invited about 10 foreign scientists, and Japanese scientists were also invited in the first and third expeditions.

China's Arctic expedition was limited because of its lack of technical support. The main areas of exploration in the four Arctic expeditions were mainly in the Bering Strait, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and the Canada Basin. Without support from other vessels, it is difficult for the "Snow Dragon" to reach the core areas of the Arctic Ocean with its weak ice-breaking capabilities.

Wang said that reports on China establishing an exploration base in the Arctic are ill-founded. The Yellow River Station, China's only fixed expedition station in the Arctic, was established in 2004 and is located in the Ny-Alesund area of the Spitsbergen Islands of Norway. All fixed facilities at the Yellow River Station must be leased from Norway.

"As the area is in the natural protection zone of Norway, the activities of scientists are strictly limited and they can only conduct exploration in the station and nearby areas but cannot explore resources far away from the station," Wang said. He added that relying on the Yellow River Station, China has achieved important results in terms of upper atmospheric physics.

In addition, there are eight scientific expedition stations from Japan, South Korea, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, India and Norway established on the islands. Some non-Arctic countries, such as Japan, have established expedition stations in the Arctic much earlier than China, and their equipment is more advanced.

"The aim of China's Arctic expedition is for peace, science, cooperation and environmental protection," Wang said. He added, "According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as relevant international laws, China has the right to carry out normal scientific exploration in the Arctic Ocean."

By People's Daily Online, Yan Meng


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