This will be a smaller more maneuverable, research orientated ice breaker vice the Xue Long which was built as an Antarctic resupply ship for China's Antarctic station.
Model of the XUE Long, Photo by Malcom KOO released to Wikipedia Commons. The new ice breaker is now about in the model stage. The U.S. Coast Guard has no plans or money to expand its ice breaker fleet ( one is cannibalizing parts from a sister ship to keep running, one is new) the U.S. has multiple Antarctic Stations to supply and over a 1,000+ miles of Arctic coast to control.
Update 1/9/2015 Our best available information is that the plans are complete but we have not monitored any announcement of a keel laying yet
Story from THE GLOBAL TIMES
Xinhua | January 05, 2014 15:46
"China plans to build a new icebreaker for polar expeditions as its veteran Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, remains stuck in Antarctica after rescuing passengers from a Russian vessel.
Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, told Xinhua on Sunday that designs for the vessel were in the process after gaining official approval.
"The new icebreaker will be shorter and be equipped with blades both at the bow and the stern, which will be able to open ice 1.5 meters thick," said Qu.
Designed mainly for field research instead of transporting supplies, the new icebreaker will also have a better power system, larger decks and laboratories. It will be a "mobile research station," said Qu.".....
To read the full story click on this link: THE GLOBAL TIMES CHINA TO BUILD NEW ICEBREAKER
If all other links fail: http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/835797/China-to-build-new-icebreaker.aspx