The submersible, named “fendouzhe,” or “striver,” landed on the sea bed at the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench on Earth on Tuesday morning, Xinhua said, after setting off from China’s Hainan province one month earlier.
The dive beat China’s previous dive into the Mariana Trench by over 800 meters (2,624 feet) but it narrowly missed out on breaking a world record for the deepest dive in the Mariana Trench.
But China’s goals for the dive aren’t just scientific investigation. Ye Cong, the chief designer of the submersible, told Chinese state-run media that the seabed was abundant with resources.
High-tech diving equipment can help us better draw a “treasure map” of the deep sea, Ye said in an interview quoted by Xinhua.
In a commentary on the dive, posted to the official WeChat account of the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist’s Party official mouthpiece, the author said that deep-sea exploration was important to better understand the “international strategic landscape.”
“For example, Japan recently discovered rare earth resources in the Pacific Ocean, where the recoverable reserves are said to be 1,000 times more than on land. The ocean floor is a whole new world. If we don’t explore this world, others will explore it,” the commentary said.
But it is facing heavy competition from countries around the world.
Additional reporting by CNN’s Beijing bureau.