Researchers will collect and compile valuable data and materials obtained during China's major ocean expeditions to the South China Sea and its affiliated islands and reefs, said Long Lijuan, deputy head of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The project is one of the 14 resource investigation programmes approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology this year, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
A comparative analysis and research into the data will provide insight into the resources, environment and changes related to the South China Sea and its affiliated islands and reefs.
Retired expedition members have been invited to assist the programme to ensure the reliability and precision of the data.
China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea (SCS), including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.