China to open int'l institute for Arctic studies

Updated: 2012-08-18 20:53


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REYKJAVIK - China will launch its first international Arctic cooperation and research institute in Shanghai, sources attending a Sino-Iceland workshop told reporters in Reykjavik.

The workshop on Arctic studies was held Friday as part of the first formal visit to an Arctic country by China's fifth Arctic expedition team, aboard the icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon".

The new Sino-Northern Europe cooperation and research institute for Arctic studies will cover issues like adaptation to climate change and sustainable development, cooperation between Northeast Asia and North Europe on Arctic economic development and cooperation strategies and policies.

The institute, to be founded by the Polar Research Institute of China with the support of an Icelandic research center, will initiate research projects, arrange exchanges of scholars, organize meetings and publish annual reports among other activities.

During the expedition team's four-day visit, China and Iceland also signed a cooperation memorandum to set up a joint polar light observation station in northern Iceland, which experts say will significantly boost space science studies and improve polar environmental change forecasting.

China's 120-member expediton team, including researchers, coordinators, support staff, reporters, the ship's crew, four scientists from France and Denmark and another from China's Taiwan, arrived in the Icelandic capital Friday afternoon.

The A-2 class icebreaker, capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, will be open to the public. Iceland's president and government officials are also expected to visit.

Expedition leader Yang Huigen said it was of great importance for China to cooperate with arctic countries like Iceland, which provided significant help to China's Arctic research.

Xuelong set out from the port city of Qingdao on July 2 and will travel an estimated 17,000 nautical miles during its 90-day voyage. It is scheduled to return to Shanghai on Sept 29.