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China ship sails to Atlantic and back via Arctic Ocean

BEIJING -- A Chinese icebreaker docked Thursday at Shanghai after becoming the first Chinese vessel to cross the Arctic Ocean, a landmark trip that is part of Beijing's efforts to expand its presence in the Arctic.

With melting icecaps accelerating the opening of new shipping routes and the exploration of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the Arctic, China has been eager to gain a foothold in the region.

The icebreaker Snow Dragon returned to Shanghai after wrapping up a three-month mission that took it from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic via the Arctic, the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China said in a statement. The vessel's 119 crew members completed an oceanic survey in waters around Iceland with their Icelandic counterparts.

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