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Icebreaker visits Taiwan

CHINA'S Antarctic exploration vessel "Snow Dragon" left Kaohsiung port in southern Taiwan yesterday after a three-day stay on its way back home.

The "Snow Dragon" ("Xuelong" in Chinese) arrived at Kaohsiung on Wednesday at the invitation of the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, the National Sun Yat-sen University and the Cheng Shiu University for cross-Strait polar research exchanges.

In the past couple of days, more than 2,000 visitors boarded the scientific research vessel, China's only icebreaker, which has already carried out a dozen trips to Antarctica since 1994.

Curious visitors crowded the ship, took photos and asked questions to the crew members about the Antarctic.

The researchers on the "Snow Dragon" also visited Pingtung's National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium to discuss possibility of increasing academic cooperation and exchanging research with their Taiwan counterparts.

Carrying 140 crew, including scientists, technicians and sailors, the "Snow Dragon" left Shanghai in October for a 173-day trip, the longest in China's polar expedition history, and is expected to return to Shanghai on April 10.

The expedition team built a new research station at Dome Argus (Dome A), the pole's highest icecap at 4,093 meters above the sea level. It is China's third station in Antarctica after the Changcheng Station and Zhongshan Station.

They left Zhongshan Station on March 9 and stopped at Fremantle in Western Australia on March 22 to refuel.


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