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BEIJING, May 25. /TASS/. Russia and China are going to expand practical cooperation in exploring Antarctica, the leader of the Russian Antarctic Expedition, Valery Lukin, said after the Arctic and Antarctic Institute of Russia’s weather-watching service Rosgidromret and the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration signed a memorandum on cooperation.
"We received a proposal for signing such a document from the Chinese side back in February. We have polished it, exchanged opinion and coordinated it. This is a framework agreement. It underscores commitment to the principles of the Antarctic Treaty.
Russia and China intend to pool efforts in conducting some kinds of research and logistic operations in the region, which are very costly.
"The research has to be carried out far away from the customary logistic bases. Both China and Russia may benefit a great deal if they pool efforts," he said.
The memorandum has laid a legal basis for practical interaction with China, which, Lukin believes, has a good future.
"Chinese stations in Antarctica are close to ours. Moreover, we already have an agreement letting China use the runway near the Progress station on a temporary basis.
"Chinese researchers have used our infrastructures for sometime already. China is greatly interested in studying the body of water under the icecap they have found. Everybody knows our successes in exploring the subglacial lake called Vostok (East). Naturally, cooperation will benefit both parties.