13:32 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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China to Conduct First Northern Sea Route Expedition

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China will conduct its fifth Arctic expedition between July and September via the Northeast Passage, the country's first attempt through the shipping route also known as the Northern Sea Route, Xinhua reported on Monday

China will conduct its fifth Arctic expedition between July and September via the Northeast Passage, the country's first attempt through the shipping route also known as the Northern Sea Route, Xinhua reported on Monday

The expedition aboard the Xuelong (Snow Dragon) icebreaker will carry out oceanic, atmospheric, sea-ice and marine life research in the Arctic region, Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration, said.

"If the expedition goes according to plan it will also be the first time for a Chinese icebreaker to reach the Barents Sea," Liu said.

Previously, China carried out four expeditions in the Arctic, in 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2010.

Starting in April, China will send researchers to the Yellow River Station in the Svalbard archipelago of Norway for the Arctic research missions.

There are two routes available through the ice-choked Arctic Ocean, the Northwest Passage and the Northeast Passage.

The Northwest Passage goes through the cold Arctic waters north of Canada, and the Northeast Passage extends along the northern coast of Russia.