Fears over China's Antarctic exploration "xenophobic": Australian Antarctic Division chief

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-09 11:08:13|Editor: mingmei
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CANBERRA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The new head of Australia's Antarctic mission on Tuesday rejected concerns about China's operations in the area as "xenophobic."

Kim Ellis, who was appointed director of the Australian Antarctic Division in December 2018, on Tuesday told News Corp Australia that there is no evidence that China has breached the Antarctic Treaty, as was reported by News Corp on Monday.

"I have seen nothing in the last eight weeks that there's any concrete evidence of any form (suggesting) the speculation in the press is correct," he said.

"The only way to absolutely confirm that is to undertake inspection."

"Now I intend to personally participate in those inspections and I will confirm to myself a range of stations, not just China, are operating in the principles and the letter of law in the Antarctic treaty. I absolutely guarantee we will be undertaking inspections in the 2019-20 season."

He said that Australian authorities would meet with Chinese authorities to discuss their plans for Antarctica in June.

"It's one of those things we will explore in our pre-meeting schedule prior to the Antarctic treaty consultative meeting and the Antarctic treaty consultative meeting in Prague in June," he said.

The Australian government in February announced that 450 million Australian dollars (320.4 million U.S. dollars) will be spent over the next 10 years to upgrade Australia's Antarctic research stations.