A Chinese admiral’s epic voyage around the world may be recreated to promote the theory that China discovered America 71 years before Christopher Columbus.

Design experts are hoping to launch a full-size replica of one of the huge junks in which the eunuch Zheng He allegedly travelled with a crew of more than 100 during his two-year circumnavigation of the globe in 1421.

With the plans already drawn up, it is hoped that the vessel will leave China in 2004, 600 years after the feted admiral embarked on his first journey of discovery in a colossal fleet of multi-masted ships. More here.