Australia and China strengthen Antarctic ties

President Xi and Prime Minister Abbott examine an ice core, held by Dr Tony Fleming
President Xi and Prime Minister Abbott examine an ice core, held by Dr Tony Fleming
Prime Minister Abbott, President Xi and Dr Tony Fleming speak via video conference to expeditioners at Davis station in AntarcticaThe official party discuss the live weather on display from Dome A in AntarcticaAdministrator of the State Oceanic Administration of the People's Republic of China Mr Liu Cigui and Environment Minister Greg Hunt shake hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding

18th November 2014

Australia and China have reaffirmed and strengthened a long tradition of collaboration in Antarctic diplomacy, science, logistics and operations today during a visit from Chinese President Xi to Tasmania.

A bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recognising and deepening Australia’s and China’s Antarctic relationship was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Abbott and Chinese President Xi at an event in Hobart today.

Fittingly, the signing of the MOU was witnessed by Australian and Chinese expeditioners in Antarctica, via video link to Davis and Zhongshan stations.

More information

Environment Minister Greg Hunt's media release 


[Video]

Australia and China strengthen Antarctic ties

Video transcript

Australian Antarctic Division Director Dr Tony Fleming

Mr President, Prime Minister, we are delighted today to share your visit in a live link to Antarctica. We have on the video link expeditioners from both our countries currently based at Australia’s Davis station, on the left and China’s Zhongshan station on the right. In Antarctic terms the stations are neighbours and enjoy a great deal of collaboration. Firstly I would like to introduce the Davis station leader James Moloney.

Davis station leader, James Moloney

President Xi and Prime Minister it’s a great pleasure to be talking to you today. With me are Xiaosong Shi, a Chinese observer seconded to our aviation team and Dr Jan Wallace our station doctor.  Following the successful completion of our annual resupply we have a contingent of about 80 expeditioners now commencing a summer work projects. Our scientists are studying the effects of ocean acidification on marine microbes in the Southern Ocean. We are also starting to install a new high-quality waste water treatment facility to further reduce our environmental impact. We are very pleased to be hosting Xiaosong and look forward to continuing the strong friendship between Davis and Zhongshan stations.

Australian Antarctic Division Director Dr Tony Fleming

Mr Liu I invite you to introduce the Zhongshan station leader

Chinese State Oceanic Administrator Mr Liu Cigui

Now I would like to ask Mr Wei from the Zhongshan station of China Antarctic Research Centre to give us a briefing.

Zhongshan station leader Mr Wei Fuhai

Honourable President Xi and honourable Prime Minister Abbott you are talking to us live through this video conference though we are at the very stormy and windy South Pole. It is very cold here, but we feel the warmth of your touch. It has been one year since we left out motherland. The Zhongshan station has been operating very smoothly and we are making very steady progress in our various scientific tasks, such as the aurora observation and the earth magnetism observation. This year happens to be the 30th anniversary of China starting exploration in Antarctica. We will continue to uphold the spirit of providing benefit to the entirety of humanity.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The two station leaders of Zhongshan and Davis, and all your fellow team members, I would like to thank you for your update on how you work and live and board. Your introduction has helped us to get a more direct understanding of the polar scientific studies where you live. On behalf of the Chinese government and people I would like to extend our sincere greetings and respect to all of you - thank you for your work. The unique geographical, climatic and ecological conditions of Antarctica has offered an ideal venue for humanity to gain a better understanding of the history and trend of the evolution of the Earth and the exploration into the secrets of Antarctica hinges on the future of humanity. It is thus of great significance.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Thanks very much it’s a real thrill for me to be here. I want to say to all of our scientists and support staff in Antarctica, Australian and Chinese, thank you for what you do and congratulations on the work you are doing for our benefit and the benefit of future generations. It’s good to see the cooperation which is happening on a day-to-day basis at Davis station. I understand there was a practical example of more dramatic cooperation last year when the Russian ship got stuck in the ice. The Chinese helicopter rescued the people off the Russian ship and sent them to the Australian ice breaker which then brought them back up to Hobart. So, that was a very good and practical illustration of what China and Australia can do to help the world in Antarctica.

Master of Ceremonies Paula Ganly

The first document to be signed today is the Memorandum of Understanding on Antarctic and Southern Ocean cooperation. To be signed for Australia by the Minister for Environment, the honourable Greg Hunt MP and for China by the State Oceanic Administrator, Mr Liu Cigui.

[end transcript]