China should speed up domestic legislation related to its increasing Antarctic activities, a senior Chinese official said Tuesday.
Currently, besides expeditions, trips to Antarctica from China are increasing, said Lin Shanqing, deputy head of the State Oceanic Administration, at a press conference about the country's 33rd Antarctic expedition.
Management should be strengthened for these activities, he said.
Only three out of the 29 consultative parties of the Antarctic Treaty have no domestic legislation yet on Antarctica. China is one, said Lin.
China will continue to strengthen environmental protection in Antarctica, said the official.
The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 and took effect in 1961, establishing Antarctica as the first global space free of any military and nuclear activity, and reserving it exclusively for scientific research.
The treaty has 53 parties, including 29 consultative parties. The consultative status means all parties have the right to vote in Antarctic affairs.
China built its first research base, the Great Wall station, in 1985 on King George island.
On Tuesday, Chinese scientists concluded a 161-day expedition, the 33rd of its kind, to Antarctica on the Xuelong icebreaker and returned to Shanghai.