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Successful Antarctic Inspection of Chinese Delegation



From 25 to 28 December 2015, a Chinese delegation led by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou carried out a successful inspection of the Antarctic stations of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Uruguay and Chile on the King George Island, Antarctica. The Chinese delegation also included representatives of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Oceanic Administration and the Office of the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on Foreign Affairs. It was China's second Antarctic inspection. The first such inspection was conducted in 1990.


Under the Antarctic Treaty, the Consultative Parties to the Treaty may carry out inspections in Antarctica. They may inspect other Contracting Parties' activities in Antarctica to ensure a full compliance with the purposes and provisions of the Antarctic Treaty and its Protocol on Environmental Protection.


The Chinese delegation for 2015 Antarctic inspection was based in China's Great Wall Station. The inspection covered six Antarctic stations, including Bellingshausen Station of the Russian Federation, King Sejong Station of the ROK, Uruguay's General Artigas Station, and Chile's Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, the Fildes Bay Chilean Antarctic Maritime Station and Professor Julio Escudero Base. The inspection focused on station construction, research activities, international cooperation, environmental protection and emergency measures. It also covered much-discussed issues of Antarctic tourism and Antarctic protected areas. China's inspection team was warmly received by the inspected stations and had friendly and in-depth exchanges of views with scientists and staff thereof.


The Antarctic Treaty was opened for signature in 1959. The treaty freezes all territorial sovereignty claims in Antarctica. Under the Treaty, Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. The Treaty encourages Antarctic scientific investigations and international scientific cooperation, and emphasizes the conservation of Antarctic living resources. China acceded to the Antarctic Treaty in 1983 and became a Consultative Party in 1985. Given its status as a Consultative Party, China has the freedom of scientific investigation and research, and enjoys the right of decision-making over Antarctic affairs. China carried out its first Antarctic inspection in 1990.


(Source: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn. Original text dated 31 December 2015)