The Strategist

Reuters: Western countries fear China's expanding presence in Antarctica

04/20/2023 - 07:20

China has begun work on the fifth research station it was building in the southern polar region before it was put on hold in 2018. Reuters came to this conclusion after studying satellite photographs from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.

It is anticipated that the station on Inexpressible Island in the Ross Sea will have an observatory and a satellite ground station. Images from the CSIS taken in January show that the base has temporary buildings, a helipad, and the foundation for the main facility, which will be roughly 5,000 square meters. Data from CSIS indicate that the development could be finished by 2024.

According to CSIS analysts, the station's equipment can be utilized to intercept satellite communications from other countries. China will have access to telemetry information on rockets launched from the Australian Arnhem launch facility in particular.

Reuters notes that Western countries are worried about Beijing's growing influence in polar regions. The People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) may have access to a station in the southern polar zone, the Western nations believe.