Taiwan, China to collaborate in Antarctic research
Taiwan and China will cooperate on research in Antarctica for the first time, scientists said Thursday, in a further sign of closer ties between the two rivals.
Taiwanese researchers are expected to join China's icebreaker and research vessel Xue Long when it sets off for Antarctica in late October or November, said Wang Wei-hsien, director of Taiwan's Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium.
"We hope to draw on China's experience in Antarctica to research topics such as the environmental impact of global warming and sustainable resources," Wang said.
The Xue Long, carrying some 80 scientists and 40 crew, arrived at Taiwan's southern port of Kaohsiung on Wednesday en route to Shanghai on the return journey from its 25th mission to Antarctica.
Some 2,000 Taiwanese are expected to visit the ship before its departure Saturday.
Since kickstarting economic reforms three decades ago, China has made scientific projects a priority, establishing three research bases in Antarctica since 1985.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification by force if necessary, although the two sides have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
Ties have improved dramatically since pro-Beijing Ma Ying-jeou became president last May. Direct daily flights and shipping services have been launched in recent months.