Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has called for more expeditions to polar regions so as to deepen scientific knowledge and help protect the country's maritime interests.
Zhang made the remarks on Thursday while meeting science workers who returned from the country's 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica last week.
During the 160-day mission, a 257-strong team set up the Taishan Station as China's fourth such Antarctic supply and research base in addition to other scientific assignments.
The team, aboard icebreaker Xuelong, also evacuated 52 people from trapped Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and spent 10 days on its way back searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
Praising the results of the mission, Zhang stressed that scientific research on the polar regions aims to deepen understanding of Earth climates and environments, expand living space, utilize polar resources and boost human society's sustainable development.
According to Zhang, polar scientific research also helps safeguard national maritime interests and build China into a maritime power.
He urged the country's scientists to strive for reform and innovation and bravely push forward polar exploration in terms of scope and knowledge depth.
Zhang said he wants better care for science workers at the front line both spiritually and financially in order to foster a tough and professional team and attract more talents to devote themselves to the country's scientific cause.
The vice premier expressed his hope that the country can make further high-caliber research achievements and participate more in international polar affairs.
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