MCMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA - Some American researchers stationed at Antarctica are a little concerned about the 4th research station China recently built here.
"Well, for one thing, it is shaped like a UFO and it is on stilts," commented Dr. Fillmore Frizzard, an expert in the 1000 fungi species that have been found on and around Antarctica. "Don't you think that is a wee bit suspicious? It looks like it is getting ready to take off, if you get my drift? For another thing, the Chinese are planning to build a 5th station here next year!"
When it was pointed out that the U.S. and Britain already have 6 research stations on Antarctica and Japan, Germany and Italy have 5, Dr. Frizzard remarked, "But we're the 'good guys'."
The Chinese research station, called Taishan, is either named for one of China's five sacred mountains, or a famous panda bear born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. back in 2005.
Intelligence sources have speculated that the Chinese are vying for a place in the Antarctic natural resources poker game. If so, just what is at stake?
It is estimated that Antarctica has oil reserves of up to 203 billion barrels, the third-largest in the world, and 90% of the world's fresh water. In any part of the world that's a high stakes game, especially with current oil and water shortages.
"We are all taking bets about what the 5th Chinese research station is going to look like, " explained Dr. Frizzard. "So far the bets are on a pagoda, a Chinese dragon, a lotus flower, a Buddha, a noodle bowl, or an Intercontinental rocket launch."
When asked if any other countries are alarmed about the sudden escalation of Chinese stations in Antarctica, Frizzard said, "Well, Argentina has been too busy to notice. It has been spending its time objecting to the decision London made last year to name a large area of Antarctic territory after Queen Elizabeth II!"