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China to Set up Its 3rd Antarctica Base

China will dispatch its 25th scientific research team to the Antarctica to set up a third base on the southernmost continent, the country's oceanic authority said on Thursday.

The 204-member team will set out from Shanghai on Monday and visit the Republic of Korea and Australia en route to Antarctica, Li Haiqing, spokesman for the State Oceanic Administration, revealed.

Called Kunlun, the country's first inland station will be located 7.3 km southwest of Dome Argus (Dome A), the highest icecap on the South Pole at 4,083 m above sea level.

Experts said Kunlun will be built near Dome A not only for its elevation but also conditions conducive to scientific research and astronomical observation.

"Chinese scientists will drill deeply into the ice and collect ice samples, which is quite valuable in unfolding the environmental change of the past 1-1.5 million years," Qin Weijia, deputy director of Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Research Center, said.

"This is of vital importance in exploring the fundamental reasons of global warming," Qin, who is also the deputy head of China's 25th Antarctic scientific research team, said.

Most of Kunlun station will be completed earlier next year, he said.

(China Daily October 17, 2008)

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