• Goldmine? China is interested in the Antarctic region for an alternative food source.

Goldmine? China is interested in the Antarctic region for an alternative food source. (Photo : Flickr)

China is now building additional outposts in Antarctica which will serve as science and research stations confirming the nation's increasing interest on the frozen continent, which now totals in five Chinese outposts.

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Last fall 2014, China's president Xi Jinping traveled to the edge of the Southern Ocean in order to secure in place the long distance marker off the Antarctic coast. The national leader announced to local media that China will now be expanding its operations on the southern polar continent.

Apart from this, China also signed a new agreement with the Australian government where the Australians are now allowing Chinese ships and airplanes to stop over at the nation for re-supply and fuel. As a strong vantage point, this pact will greatly benefit Chinese research expeditions that are heading towards Antarctica for scientific explorations. 

Antarctica is also host to many untapped resources such as marine life, fresh water and even petroleum. However, budget constraints from the U.S. and Australia limit scientific research as this drive for new science discoveries in the Antarctic region has encouraged China where the U.S. is now concerned over their intentions on the last frontier of the planet.

A treaty was agreed upon in 1959 which is called the Antarctic Treaty that entails the prohibition of any military activity on the continent. Another pact was also forged that forbids any mining on the frozen region.

However, China has other plans as the Polar Institute of China has recently established a new department specificially for resources, geopplitics and governance among the polar regions. Polar wildlife in the region could become a major attraction for China as this can also become an excellent food source for nearly 1.36 billion people.

According to Liu Shenli, who is the chairman of the China National Agricultural Development Group, investing in the Antarctic region mainly focuses on krill fishing as this can provide good quality of protein that can be processed into food and medicine.

To date, Antarctica is home to more than 10,000 species of fish and krill. China established its first science outpost on Antarctica called The Great Wall Station in King George Island in 1985 where the last base was built last 2014.