China's Xuelong ice-breaker docks in Shanghai after Arctic voyage

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 3:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

A Chinese icebreaker has docked at Shanghai after becoming the first Chinese vessel to cross the Arctic Ocean.

The landmark trip is part of Beijing’s efforts to expand its presence in the Arctic region as melting icecaps accelerate the opening of new shipping routes and the exploration of oil, gas and mineral deposits.

The official Xinhua news agency says the ice-breaker Snow Dragon, or Xuelong, docked on Thursday, wrapping up a three-month mission that took it from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic via the Arctic. The vessel’s 119-member crew completed an oceanic survey in waters around Iceland with their Icelandic counterparts.

Though it has no territorial claims in the Arctic, China has been lobbying for permanent observer status on the eight-member Arctic Council in a bid to gain influence.

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