[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/31/china.geithner/art.geithner.jpg caption="U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will push for better relations with China."](CNN) - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is set to meet with several high-ranking members of the Chinese leadership this week, marking the Obama administration's first major overture to the powerhouse nation.
Geithner left Saturday for meetings in Beijing, where he'll discuss ways to strengthen relations between China and the United States, according to the Treasury Department.
China is one of America's most important trading partners, and its economy is tightly intertwined with efforts to reverse the global downturn.
But the relationship is also often a source of tension. Chinese exports to the United States have dominated trade between the two nations since the 1980s. The U.S. trade deficit with China rose again in March to $15.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported.