China Unveils Fourth Research Station in Antartica

In a global race for resources, China expands its polar footprint

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Several nations are building research stations in Antarctica, where sovereignty is unclear, to stake their claims

China this week unveiled its fourth research station in Antarctica, a lantern-shaped science hub that will be used to study climate change, geology and glaciers.

In recent years a global race for resources — the unexploited continent is the home to what might be the third-largest oil reserves in the world as well as abundant mineral deposits — has prompted various nations to stake a claim by building research bases. Sovereignty over Antarctica remains unclear, and China and all other signatories to the Antarctic Treaty have agreed not to start mining or similar work before 2048.

With the completion of the research station and the announcement that a fifth station will be built next year, China is one step closer to catching up with nations such as Japan, Germany and Italy, who all have five stations, and U.K. and the U.S., who both have six.