The construction of China's new Antarctic station is in full compliance with international rules, and will enhance human knowledge of Antarctica while promoting the region's sustainable development, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday, while slamming Western media's hype of China "potentially using its Antarctic station for surveillance purposes."
Wang Wenbin, the ministry spokesperson, made the remarks in response to a number of Western media reports, including from Reuters and CNN, that smeared the new Chinese station on Antarctica. The reports said that the station could support intelligence collection given its inclusion of a satellite ground station, and its position "may enable China to collect signals intelligence from U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand."
"Such concerns are unnecessary," Wang said at the routine press conference on Thursday. "As a consultative state of the Antarctic Treaty, China has always carried out activities in accordance with relevant provisions of the treaty. The construction of the station will be conducive to enhancing human scientific knowledge of Antarctica, providing a platform for cooperation between China and other countries in scientific expeditions, and promoting peace and sustainable development in the region," Wang noted.
Citing a report released on Tuesday by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Western media said that China is making significant progress in building the country's fifth research facility in Antarctica after a lull of several years in construction starting in 2018.
The groundless accusation fully disregarded the fact that in February 2020, when a team of U.S. inspectors visited the station and was received by the Chinese team, they found no military equipment or support personnel at the site, according to a report entitled Report of Inspections under Article VII of the Antarctic Treaty and Article 14 of the Protocol on Environmental Protection, published by the U.S. State Department on Feruary 7, 2020.
China is not the only country to carry out research activities on the frozen continent. A number of countries including the U.S., the UK, Russia and South Korea all operate research stations, with the U.S. operating the largest base and research station in Antarctica.