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China to give Chinese names to Antarctic islands.

BEIJING, March 30 Kyodo

China will publish a scientific map of Antarctica next year with Chinese-language names for 46 islands, researchers said after returning from the polar continent, state-run media reported Thursday.

The map will include Romanized Chinese names for islands in Antarctica, Xinhua News Agency reported.

''In Antarctica, most places are named in English, French, German, Russian and Italian,'' Xinhua reported. ''In the next year, for the first time, some newly surveyed places will be given Chinese names.''

The Chinese Arctic and Antarctica Administration has worked with the popular Internet portal since September to collect suggested names for the islands, Xinhua said. It said the names would include those of Chinese philosophers, pre-Communist politicians and scientists as well as common terms for mountains, animals and plants.

The map also will cover geographical, historic and mining features of the Grove Area, a mountainous region covering 3,200 square kilometers in eastern Antarctica. It will be published in March 2007.

China has done 22 Antarctic expeditions for climate change research and other scientific explorations. A 131-day trek that ended Tuesday with the icebreaker ship Xuelong's return to Shanghai has received continuous media play in China, where the government is urging renewed emphasis on scientific development.

The 117-member team that just returned should also issue a public report on what it found, said Chen Jie, a former Antarctic explorer and an earth science professor at the China Academy of Sciences in Nanjing.

China is purely interested in science, not economic gain or political control of the continent considered neutral international territory, Chen said.

''There won't be any drilling or mining, no economic interests,'' he told Kyodo. ''There are no territorial implications.''

On the latest trip, the scientists did research on the biosphere and medical experiments. It also collected 5,354 pieces of cloud stone, Xinhua said.

China announced last year it would spend 500 million yuan (about

$61.6 million) to build a third station in Antarctica, rebuild its existing two bases and upgrade the China Polar Research Center in Shanghai.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 3, 2006
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