Asia is leading the global economy back to recovery, with China playing the major role, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Speaking here after a meeting of the Finance Ministers in the forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), he said on Thursday the U.S. continued to have a “special responsibility” in moving the global recovery forward. Mr. Geithner said: “We are seeing growth resume in the United States [as well] … Given the very important role of the U.S. in the global economy [and] the important role the dollar plays in the system, … we are going to continue to be a voice for reform and would be a strong partner for countries in this region.”

Issues relating to the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar in this sensitive global context came into focus during a flurry of APEC ministerial meetings that were held here to prepare for the week-end regional summit.

In a comment not directly related to the stability of the U.S. dollar, Chinese Assistant Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Beijing remained committed to “maintain [its] currency stability”. The comment acquired importance because of much international focus on the exchange value of China’s currency and the first signs of speculation about the future role of the dollar in the global economy.

However, Japan’s new idea of an Asian currency was not discussed by the APEC Finance Ministers. This was indicated to The Hindu by a key participant, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Summing up the day’s deliberations, the Singapore Foreign Minister emphasised that APEC included the U.S. and China, whose bilateral relationship was perhaps of the greatest importance to global affairs.

Singapore is hosting the current APEC summit, and the city-state’s Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang said a key focus from now on would be “inclusive growth” in each of the member-economies. The idea, not yet fully defined, was designed to create opportunities for all people to benefit from economic growth.

Singapore Finance Minster Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the ministers “agreed to cooperate … to attract infrastructure finance, develop social safety nets and pension schemes, and design sustainable urban solutions”.

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