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The Pentagon has been making inroads in improving its military-to-military relations with China. Now, at the political level, the Senate is looking to increase its ties with Chinese leaders, planning to launch the Senate US-China Working Group later this year, according to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) "The Senate US-China Working Group will create a space for senators to hold open and frank dialogue with Chinese leaders on all issues of mutual concern," said Kirk in an Oct. 8 release. Kirk and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) met with China's Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, and they discussed topics related to the working group, military cooperation, global economic recovery, bilateral trade issues, and enhancing people-to-people ties, according to the release. As a member of the House back in 2005, Kirk co-founded the House US-China Working Group with Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).