China is currently preparing for its 40th Antarctic expedition and will launch the 13th Arctic Ocean exploration, said the country's natural resources authority on Tuesday.
Minister of Natural Resources Wang Guanghua said at a press conference that the China Antarctic scientific expedition team has successfully finished the 39th expedition and recalled the research icebreaker Snow Dragon and Snow Dragon 2 home in April. Snow Dragon 2 will set from Shanghai to carry out the 13th scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean on Wednesday.
"In the field of polar and deep-sea research, solid progress has been made in the construction of the National Deep-Sea Gene Bank, the Deep-Sea Big Data Center and Specimen Sample Gallery. We are continuously improving the national polar observation and monitoring network and accelerating the construction of the fifth Antarctic research station," Wang said.
Lasting for 163 days from October in 2022 to April 2023, China's 39th Antarctic expedition focused on the response and feedback from key areas in the Antarctic Ocean to the impact of climate change.
The expedition team concluded investigations addressing key areas in the Antarctic Ocean and in the Antarctic Continent, as well as the ice and snow environmental monitoring, astronomical observations and sub-glacial terrain exploration in the stations along the Zhongshan Station to Dome A transect in Antarctic, and in the Princess Elizabeth Land region of East Antarctic. The replenishment of materials and staff rotation at China's Zhongshan and Great Wall stations has been also completed.
China currently has four Antarctic research stations with a fifth under construction. In April, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson slammed Western media hype claiming China was "potentially using its Antarctic station for surveillance purposes," saying the construction of the new station is in full compliance with international rules, and will enhance human knowledge of Antarctic while promoting the region's sustainable development.