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China to begin fourth expedition to North Pole
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-06-27 14:37

Over a hundred Chinese scientists will set sail to the Arctic on July 1, the fourth such expedition of its kind, to study changes in ice surface and its effects on the environment, the State Oceanic Administration said Saturday.

A group of 122 scientists, logistics staff, and reporters will participate in the 85-day research project aboard the icebreaker "Snow Dragon," the administration's spokesman Li Haiqing said at a press conference.

Qu Tanzhou, the administration's polar region expedition office director, said scientists will conduct comprehensive research on thawing of sea ice and the ecological situation with the help of a helicopter, an observation station and an underwater robot.

Li Haiqing said the fourth expedition sets a record in both its duration and the number of people involved.

Seven scientists from the United States, France, Finland, Estonia, and the Republic of Korea will also take part in the mission, according to Li.

A scientist from Taiwan would also be on board, he said. "This is the second time a Taiwan scientist will participate in the country's polar expedition."

A Taiwan scientist previously was part of the country's 26th Antarctic expedition in autumn last year.

The group would set sail from Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China's Fujian Province on July 1 and return to Shanghai on September 23.

China's other scientific expeditions to the Arctic were in 1999, 2003 and 2008.

In 2004, China's northernmost observation station was set up in Norway.

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