China and Australia on 18 November 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral Antarctic cooperation. The MoU was signed in the presence of the President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott in Hobart, Australia’s gateway to Antarctica.
President of China Xi Jinping is on three nation tour to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji with Australia being the first leg of his visit.
Details of the MoU
• Both the countries will exchange data and personnel which will further enhance cooperation in scientific research activities.
• Both the countries will be supportive to each other in logistics and emergency and rescue. It also raises the hope on conservation and food security in Antarctica region.
• A platform for Antarctic official and academic exchanges will be established, under which Australia will be a gateway to Antarctica.
• A joint committee to be established by both the countries will meet every two years once and will oversee the cooperation and a mechanism for environmental, policy, scientific and operational collaboration in Antarctica.
China at present has four research stations in Antarctica region including the last research station Taishan that was opened in 2014. It is planning to open the fifth one also. On the other hand Australia has three research stations.
Approximately 30 nations operate permanent research stations in Antarctica, including the US, China, Russia, Australia, Britain, France and Argentina.
The signing of MoU has raised hopes for agreement on conservation and food security in the resource-rich Antarctica region.
Natural resources in the Antarctic region include massive oil reserves. These oil reserves in the Ross Sea area are estimated to be second only to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Besides, the region also boasts of rich reserves of fish and krill.
At the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Perth, Australia in October 2014, the differences in approach to issues of food security and marine life conservation in the region got exposed with China, Russia on one side and the EU, US and Australia on the other.
Who: China and Australia
When: 18 November 2014
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