A strong global economic recovery -- led by Asia -- is under way, and is unlikely to be thrown off course by European debt woes or the improbable event of the bursting of an asset bubble in China, a top Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard, in remarks prepared for delivery in Hong Kong that mirrored a speech he gave a day earlier, said that while the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is a serious matter, the global recovery looks very strong.

Bullard, a voter on the Fed's policy-setting panel this year, told reporters after his speech in Tokyo on Monday that Europe's sovereign debt crisis had not pushed back the timing of an increase in the Fed's benchmark interest rate. But he also said the recovery needs to become firmer before the Fed can raise borrowing costs.

The Fed, the U.S. central bank, has cut interest rates to near zero and pledged to keep them exceptionally low for an extended period to help the economy crawl out of the worst recession in decades.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Leslie Adler)