The Asian giant does not hide its intentions to expand its presence. China wants its slice of Antarctica to exploit its resources
It has been confirmed that China wants its slice of Antarctica. The rich natural resources of the so-called “ice continent” have become attractive to Beijing. The country is a signatory to the
1961 Antarctic Treaty, a document that guarantees that the continent will remain independent. However, what could happen in the future? If the agreement were to be broken at some point in the future, then China wants to be well positioned.
The Chinese attempts to approach Antarctica started late. Countries such as Chile and Argentina have been carrying out scientific missions since the 19th century. Meanwhile, China only made its first expedition in 1983. Nevertheless, China’s economy has taken off over the last four decades. Such economic power has allowed it to boost its ambitions in the Antarctic. Today, China has four bases in the Antarctic territory.
These bases are scattered all over the continent. For instance, “Great Murall” is in the west, on the Antarctic Peninsula. “Kunlun” is in the center, on the Antarctic Plateau. “Zhongshan” is located in the east, in Prydz Bay. Meanwhile, “Taishan” is near Prydz. Among them, the best known is “Kunlun”.
Said base began operating in 2009. Located in one of the highest points in Antarctica, it is a favorable place to carry out astronomical studies. According to experts, the Chinese use “Kunlun” to increase the accuracy of BeiDou, their satellite navigation system. This system competes with the American GPS, the Russian GLONASS and the European Galileo.
China is asking a Specially Managed Antarctic Zone
China has been requesting the establishment of a Specially Managed Antarctic Zone around “Kunlun” since 2013. However, this initiative has not prospered. During their expeditions, the Chinese have sought the location of gas and oil reserves. They have also been interested in mineral resources such as gold, uranium, chromium, and coal.
China’s enormous interest in Antarctica has caused concern among the other major powers. The Antarctic Treaty is due to be reviewed by all signatories in 2048. If this pact were to end, China would be in a good position to take advantage of the continent’s enormous natural resources.