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Chinese icebreaker completes nation’s first Arctic crossing

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Shanghai: A Chinese vessel has completed the nation’s first Arctic crossing to the Atlantic over the weekend.

Xuelong set out from the port city of Qingdao on July 2 and travelled an estimated 17,000 nautical miles during its 90-day voyage. It arrived in Iceland on the weekend having traversed Russia’s northern coastline.

Expedition leader Huigen Yang, head of the Polar Research Institute of China, said he had expected a lot more ice along the route at this time of year than the vessel encountered.

"To our astonishment ... most part of the Northern Sea Route is open," he told Reuters TV.
Xuelong is scheduled to return to Shanghai on September 29.

China has also said it will soon launch its first international Arctic cooperation and research institute in Shanghai as the nation becomes more and more interested in the northern polar region.  [20/08/12]

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