Aerial photo taken on April 21, 2018 shows members of China's 34th Antarctic expedition taking part in a welcoming ceremony on a dock in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
The ice breaker, Xuelong, departed the Port of Shanghai on Friday, launching China's ninth Arctic expedition and setting sail for the North Pole region on a journey of over 12,300 sea miles.
This non-stop voyage, which is expected to take about two months, is the first of its kind since the country published a white paper of it's Arctic policy in January.
China's exploration of the Arctic can be dated back to the late 1990s. The first seven focused on scientific research and the eighth one, which happened one year ago, traveled the Northwest Passage along the Arctic rim for the first time.
The ninth expedition is aimed to enrich China’s knowledge on marine hydrography, meteorology and chemistry by investigating the the Arctic Ocean's high latitude sea area. Hopefully, this will provide some new information about the area's environment and climate.
Onboard Xuelong are crew members and international scientists from China, France and the U.S., who are going to share research data on hot topics like ocean pollution. They have also been joined by reporters, including CCTV's Li Juan.
According to the expedition team leader Zhu Jiangang, China still needs firsthand information about the Arctic region's geographical and maritime environment and its ecosystem.