Russia and China have agreed to further strengthen their ties. In 2016, Moscow and Beijing will set up a joint news agency that will work in both countries. According to RT.com, they have also decided to launch a major discussion club with the provisional name Amur Dialogue. Yuri Shuvalov, chief of the State Duma Committee for Mass Media, said both the projects were proposed at the Russian-Chinese forum in Beijing.

Russia, China Ink Pact To Launch A Joint News Agency

The joint news agency to build mutual trust

Shuvalov added that the joint news agency will be launched in 2016, which has been declared as the year of Russian & Chinese mass media. It is unclear what level of censorship the joint news agency will have, as mass media in both countries is largely controlled by the state. Shuvalov said the Chinese and Russian mass media were in the “quality growth phase.”

The new joint news agency will help build mutual trust and offer an understanding of positions that the two countries hold on various issues such as global politics and economic development of the Eurasian continent. Russian and Chinese interests are converging in Central Asia and Eurasia. Earlier this year, Moscow formed the Eurasian Economic Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan later joined the bloc. China is building the Silk Road economic belt in Central Asia, Mongolia and Russia.

Russia, China bolster their ties

The two countries are increasingly strengthening their defense and economic ties to counter the United States. Last month, Beijing said it would buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35 advanced multi-role fighter jets from Russia in a deal estimated to be worth $2 billion. China is also buying the Russian S-400 air defense missile systems. The two countries have also conducted joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Japan this year.

Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a $400 billion gas deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Under the deal, Russia will be supplying 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to China every year over three decades starting 2018. A gas pipeline is currently under construction. It will make China the biggest consumer of Russian gas.