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Chinese president extends winter festival greetings to Antarctic workers
BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao extended his festival greetings to Chinese and other nation's scientists and engineers working in the South Pole region when Antarctica's traditional Midwinter Festival fell on Saturday.

    "Antarctica is the last continent found by mankind, and is still the least understood by people," said Hu. The continent celebrated the festival on the southern hemisphere's winter solstice day.

    He said over centuries in order to uncover the continent's mysteries, scientists and explorers from many countries have made many breakthroughs and have determinedly explored the toughest region on the planet, and this has greatly expanded mankind's view.

    The president cited the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake in southeastern Sichuan Province as an example, saying that various natural disasters gave people greater insight into the great significance of marine, polar and geo-science studies.

    This year was the fourth International Polar Year. Scientists of many countries had conducted an Antarctic scientific expedition of unprecedented size, Hu said, adding he hoped they could make new contributions to humanity's peaceful use of the land.

    China launched its first expedition to the Antarctic in 1984. In November, Chinese scientists will launch the country's 25th Antarctic expedition.

Source: Xinhua

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