China will build its first airport in the Antarctica as Beijing aims to become a 'Polar Super Power'
China is preparing to build its first permanent airfield in the South Pole, according to state-media.
The airbase will be located on an ice sheet 28 kilometres (17 miles) from Zhongshan Station, the second Chinese research station in the Antarctica.
The new facility is expected to help China increase authority on airspace over the South Pole and provide logistics support to Beijing's future scientific expeditions to the region.
According to plan, the airport will have a 1,500-metre-long (4,921-foot-long), 80-metre-wide (262-foot-wide) runway.
A group of Chinese scientists and researchers will leave for the Antarctica on Friday and their main task is to build the airbase, reported Xinhua News Agency.
The facility will be the home base of China's first polar fixed-wing aircraft, Snow Eagle 601.
The aircraft has a cruising speed of 380 kilometres (236 miles) per hour, a maximum range of 3,440 kiometres (2,137 miles) and a maximum take-off load of 13 tonnes, but it has been using a Russian airfield since it was unveiled in 2015.
To build a permanent airbase, the ice sheet will need to have stable and slow movement.
And to ensure the spot they had picked was suitable, Chinese researchers built a weather station there in 2015 before spending a year observing the ice sheet and its movement, said the Xinhua report, quoting Science and Technology Daily.
There are more than 20 airports in Antarctica at present, and they belong to Western countries including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Chinese experts expect that the new airbase will help researchers carry out larger expeditions to the Antarctica.
China aims to become a 'super power' in the polar regions in terms of scientific exploration, said a previous Xinhua report. In recent years, the country has been ramping up its presence in the Antarctica by sending more expeditions and building more polar research facilities.
Beijing is currently building its fifth research station in the Antarctica after its Great Wall, Zhongshan, Kunlun and Taishan stations. Situated on Inexpressible Island in Terra Nova Bay in the Ross Sea, the new base is expected to be completed by 2023.
Last month, China's first self-developed icebreaker, Xue Long 2, tested water in Shanghai. The ship is the country's second polar research vessel after Ukraine-built Xue Long and puts Beijing on par with Washington in terms of operational icebreakers.
Measuring 122.5 metres long and 22.3 metres wide, Xue Long 2 can sail 20,000 nautical miles non-stop at the speeds of 12 to 15 knots and has a displacement of 13,990 tonnes. It can break and sail in ice of up to 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) deep.
Xue Long 2 is expected to enter service in 2019.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46419.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
OzMikey, Brisbane, Australia, 3 days ago
Surprised they aren't just building a land bridge all the way there and claim it as their own
mat c, sydney, Australia, 3 days ago
So China will build a new Antarctic base in the next 5 years . Coincidentally the same length of time it will take to lay some light rail tracks down George street in sydney providing they finish at there current scheduled time.
epaulepousserbasse, maindevanttorse, United States, 3 days ago
Watch for them to spit in that clean part of the world. Besides, they are not funny. Penguins only like funny people.
Hereticus Perfectus, Somewhere out there, United Kingdom, 4 days ago
Can they be a "humanitarian super power" too, like Sweden?
Barrybus, BombBrussels, United Kingdom, 4 days ago
When do the missiles and surveillance systems arrive?
cicababa, somewhere, United States, 4 days ago
As it was predicted. China is getting ready to take over the world.
Hal Wolkowski, Ann Arbor, United States, 4 days ago
Once they have eaten all the penguins and krill, and p'd in the water, what next?
Completely Average, Somewhere, United States, 4 days ago
I think the claims of a "permanent" air base on an ice sheet are extremely exaggerated. I can assure you that nothing built on an ice sheet is permanent.
Hysterical Mary, London, United Kingdom, 4 days ago
It's probably already been built in the time it took the DM to publish the article on it.
Border Control, Newcastle, United Kingdom, 4 days ago
Why? do we have to concrete over every square inch of the world.