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China Plans 3rd Research Station at South Pole
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China is working on the construction plan for a third research station on the South Pole, said Sun Zhihui, director of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) Wednesday.

Speaking at a SOA meeting, Sun stressed the need to enhance China's competitiveness in the exploration of polar region and ocean. So far, the name of the new research station is still undecided.

The international community has named this year as the "International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008 which runs from March 1, 2007, to March 1, 2008. "China should seize the opportunity brought by the event to carry out wide-ranging international cooperation in the field of polar region exploration," Sun said.

It will be the first time China has participated in IPY activities.

Sun vowed to continue supporting scientific research at the South Pole and North Pole, and organizing study on strategy of polar region exploration and polar region laws.

According to him, the Chinese government last year approved to invest 520 million yuan (around US$65 million) in polar region scientific research. China has launched 22 Antarctic expeditions since 1984 and built two permanent exploration stations named Changcheng (Great Wall) and Zhongshan.

They were both located at the border district of the Antarctica.

Sun revealed that China's third work station at the South Pole will be located at the hinterland of the Antarctica.

It now possesses nearly 10,000 Antarctic aerolites including the priceless Lunar and Martian aerolites, the third largest collection in the world.

China has also carried out two arctic expeditions and built the Huanghe (Yellow River) exploration station in the Arctic in July 2004.

IPY 2007-2008, to be launched by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is the fourth since the first joint polar expedition was organized in 1882/1883.

Experts indicated that the Antarctica at the South Pole is the 5th largest continent with the highest altitude. Despite the cold weather and storm snow, it has rich mine and energy resources.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2007)

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