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China to Set up First Arctic Research Station
China will set up its first ever arctic scientific research station in Longyearbyen, capital of the Svalbard Islands in Norway in July, Gao Dengyi, director of the China Yilite-Mornring Arctic Scientific Expedition and Research Team said in Beijing Wednesday.

The station will be a temporary one and will be used for two years by Chinese scientists carrying out research on the islands, Gao said.

The research team visited Svalbard in October last year, when the site of the station was chosen.

As part of a three-year research project, the team plans to conduct another research mission in Svalbard from mid-July to late August this year.

The team will include 15 scientists specialized in aerography, geology, glaciology and botany as well as journalists from the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television and China Youth Daily.

The research this year will focus on the comparative study of the ecological environments of the arctic region and China's Tibetan plateau, Gao says.

Located at 78' North Latitude, Svalbard Islands are the home to research stations of eight countries, including Norway, Germany, Britain, Japan, and Italy.

Arctic research is not only important to research into global climatic changes, oceanology, glaciology and other sciences but also is of significance to China as far as climate, environment, agriculture and resources are concerned, scientists said.

Chinese scientists have conducted several research expeditions in the arctic region since the 1990s, but it was not until 1999 that the first expedition sponsored by the Chinese government took place.

Officials with the State Oceanic Administration have said that China will set up its first permanent national arctic research station within the next four years.

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2002)

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