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Continent Shifts: Chile Claims Its Territory in Antarctica
16.01.2012 15:48
Continent Shifts: Chile Claims Its Territory in Antarctica

During his recent visit to Antarctica Sebastian Pinera, the President of Chile, announced the country's possession of a part of the continent. The claim is based on the presence of several Chilean bases in Antarctica and confirmed by the Chilean legislation.

      According to Pinera, Chile is going to maintain, enforce, and extend its presence on the continent. At the moment there are 491 Chileans living and working in extreme Antarctic conditions, studying the climate, flora, and fauna of the area. Pinera also announced the four-point Antarctic programme that aims at establishing the long-term presence of Chile in the region. In particular, the programme seeks to develop the Magallanes region in the south of Antarctica as a tourist destination. Magallanes also harbours two ports used by the majority of countries that undertake expeditions to Antarctica, Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams. The ports were described by Mr. Pinera as the comfortable and privileged access points, whereby he plans to further strengthen them. He also plans to codify all existing 67 acts of law concerning Chilean Antarctica into a unified document, thus establishing and regulating the presence of Chile on the South Pole.

      Antarctica was discovered by the Russian expedition on January 27, 1820. The 1959 International Antarctica Treaty freezed territorial expansion to the south beyond 6 degrees of southern latitude. Despite the treaty's extension for another 50 years in 2009, several countries have put forward their claims to the continent, among them: Great Britain, Argentina, New Zealand, and Norway. The U.S. and China have not openly declared their territorial claims, however both countries reportedly invest billions of dollars in developing of their bases on the continent.


Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Russian politics Russian Antarctica    

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