China and Russia are increasingly coming closer to challenge the U.S. hegemony. An official in the Chinese defense ministry told Sputnik News that naval cooperation with Russia was important to strengthen relations between the two great powers. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an amended Maritime Doctrine that seeks strong relations with China in the Pacific Ocean.

China To Further Strengthen Naval Cooperation With Russia

China-Russia cooperation critical for regional peace

The Chinese defense ministry said cooperation between the two countries was critical to establishing peace in the region and around the world. China and Russia conducted joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year. On July 17, they signed a protocol to conduct another joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan at the end of August 2015.

Next month’s naval exercises will involve a joint amphibious assault drill for the first time, according to the Russian TASS news service. Russia’s new Maritime Doctrine noted that besides cooperation with China, it’s top priorities were the Atlantic, the Arctic and Crimea. Moscow is especially interested in the mineral and oil-rich Arctic region. Last week, Russia also inducted a spy ship in its navy to track “all elements” of the U.S. anti-missile defense system.

Some disagreements still persist

Even as the two countries try to bolster military relation to counter the United States, the relation is still plagued by some issues. China’s growing presence in Central Asia, thanks to its Silk Road initiative, may limit Russia’s sphere of influence.

Russia and China had last year signed a $400 billion deal, under which Russia was supposed to supply oil and gas from Siberia to China for 30 years. But now the talks have stalled due to disagreements over the construction of pipeline and differences on pricing, reports the South China Morning Post. There could be a long delay before the two countries resume talks on the mega deal. If it goes through, Russia would supply about 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year to China.