China formally initiated an energy exploration project in the Spratly Islands, a group of islands claimed by China, six Southeast Asian countries and Taiwan. The project will focus on exploring undersea natural gas hydrates, solid crystals composed of gas and water molecules that can be used as fuel. The Chinese Academy of Sciences recently established a research center in Guangzhou to study the hydrates. German and Chinese scientists will gather samples from Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea beginning in June.
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