Argentina's Antarctic ambitions
Argentina remains serious about expanding its presence in the South Pole. The visit of foreign minister Susana Malcorra to the Carlini research base underscores the nation’s soft power approach to strengthening its territorial claims.
BENEDICT MANDER: Antarctica is the world's last frontier. Nowhere on earth is more remote or inhospitable than this virtually uninhabited continent. Nevertheless, at research stations like Argentina's Carline base, scientists brave the elements all year round as they seek to understand some of the great challenges of our time, like climate change. On a recent visit to Carlina, Argentina's foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, said her country wants to strengthen its presence in the southern polar region, especially through scientific research. She said that global warming was making Antarctica increasingly attractive to countries interested in its rich natural resources.
BENEDICT MANDER: Malcorra is Argentina's first foreign minister to visit Carlini, on King George Island, just 75 miles off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. And her visit is a signal that Argentina remains serious about its territorial claims in the white continent, which it kept alive through its 13 research stations there.
MAXIMO GOWLAND: Science is today the paramount issue of what is going on in Antarctica. Everything that is going on in Antarctica has to have a scientific basis to it. All the countries are basically revamping their Antarctic science. And we feel that we're in a point where we want to increase the interest in science. We want to increase the funds that we are assigning to science. And we want to improve the facilities-- the scientific facilities that we have.
BENEDICT MANDER: Nevertheless, the scientists working at Carlini are keenly aware of the geopolitical tensions that serve as a backdrop to their work.
BENEDICT MANDER: There is growing concern that some countries with a presence in Antarctica, like Russia and China, may be more interested in the region's natural resources than the scientific mysteries that it may be able to help solve. Benedict Mander, Carlini Base, Antarctica.
Filmed by Benedict Mander. Edited by Tomasz Frymorgen.