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Chile to increase presence in Antarctica

(Xinhua)

09:35, January 17, 2012

SANTIAGO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chile will increase its presence in Antarctica by implementing four measures, President Sebastian Pinera has said.

He said on Sunday that Chile's Antarctic policy in the next few years will have four measures, which he called "pillars". The first measure would be setting up new bases in the area, and the defense ministry is trying to find the best locations for the bases.

The second measure would be strengthening the Magallanes and Antartica Chilena Region's status as the gateway to Antarctica, Pinera said.

It is the southernmost region of Chile, and its capital city, Punta Arenas, has become an important post on the journey to Antarctica because of its unique location.

According to the president, who had arrived in Antarctica to visit Chile's base in King George Island last Friday, the third measure would be to integrate Chile's 67 legal institutions concerned into a single one, and guarantee that the foundation of the new institution does not violate the Antarctic Treaty.

He said that in order to solidify Chile's leadership and promote its competence in Antarctica, the last measure would be to develop the Magallanes and Antartica Chilena Region into a tourist area.

Chile, which plays an important role in Antarctica, has nine research stations in the area.

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