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Scientists to Explore North Pole
Chinese scientists will make a renewed bid for information about the arctic environment when an expedition sets out at the end of January to explore the North Pole.

The expedition will consist of 10 scientists and will take a new route to explore a region at high latitude within the arctic area, said Liu Shaochuang, a professor at the Remote Sensing Application Institute with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Studies of various subjects including remote sensing, mapping, kumatology, ecology and oceanography have been included in the draft research plan, he said.

Spearheaded by Liu's institute, the trip will mostly be sponsored by internal sources but will also receive contributions from enterprises.

They plan to start from the Asian continent, span the Arctic Ocean along the longitude 90 degrees east and finally arrive at the North Pole, a route that has never been taken by Chinese expeditions before.

In 1995, Liu and a dozen Chinese scientists passed through the North Pole from the opposite direction, along the longitude 90 degrees west in Canada.

China started its research in polar regions at Antarctica in the 1980s.

The Great Wall Station and the Zhongshan Station, beachheads for China's polar research, were set up in 1985 and 1989 respectively.

Comparatively, the research in the North Pole by Chinese scientists has lagged behind, Liu said.

"Chinese scientists should make more efforts to learn more about the North Pole since the situation there is closely linked to our environment and its changes," he said.

Aboard the Snow Dragon icebreaker, the first official Chinese expedition to the North Pole conducted their research between July 1 and September 9 last year.

(China Daily August 7, 2001)

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