The Chinese government has built a the 26ft-long Jiaolong submersible, will attempt to dive to 5,000m (16,404ft) in the Pacific Ocean to the south east of Hawaii.
If it succeeds, the titanium-hulled vessel will attempt next year to become the world's current deepest-diving submersible by dropping to 7,000m below sea level. The Jiaolong has already dived to more than 3,600m in the South China Sea last year, where it planted a small Chinese flag in the sea bed.
The craft's three crew members, Tang Jialing, Fu Wentao and Ye Cong, were assisted in their training by taking dives in the US deep sea submersible Alvin, in 2005.The previous record holder was the Trieste bathyscaphe, which in 1960, dropped to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the lowest point of the Pacific's Mariana trench. Unfortunately, due to the limited technology of the time the Trieste was incapable of navigating the Mariana trench.
This is yet another sign of China's growing hunger for natural resources. The Jiaolong was built part and parcel with the Chinese 863 program. This is a Chinese State funded program on par with the American NASA program.
The Chinese are stating in the global media that the Jiaolong deep sea program is nothing more then a fact finding scientific mission. The truth of the matter is that the Chinese are hoping that deep sea exploration will lead to new deep sea military programs. This is all being done to increase China's submarine warfare capability. Hand in hand with China's growing military threat is the Chinese hunger, some say, near starvation, for for natural resources.
China's voracious appetite for natural resources leans towards the fact that 1 and a half billion people need lots of things, and these products are not going to be built at the cost of buying from oversea markets. It makes far more sense for China to begin to look for new ways to exploite it's own natural resources, even if they are on the floor of the ocean.
To cover it's growing hunger for natural resources China has inked a deal with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to map an area of 30,000 sq miles of the Pacific, according to Jin Jiancai, of the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development department.
The ISA regulates mining in international waters and is currently considering applications to hunt for minerals from China and Russia as well as Nauru and Tonga, which are sponsoring private mining companies.
It's nice to see China looking forward to the next thousand years while the American Congress in-fight, squabble, and sacrifice the finical security of the country, over who will retain the Presidency in 2012.