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Asian Equities Fall; North Korea’s Warning, U.S.-China Trade Talks in Focus

Asian equities were mostly lower in morning trade

Investing.com – Asian equities were mostly lower in morning trade on Thursday after North Korea threatened to walk away from its meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump planned next month. The U.S.-China trade talks, which would be held on Thursday in Washington, also garnered some attention.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un said on Wednesday that he would reconsider whether to attend the upcoming summit if the U.S. continue to make a “one-sided demand” for the regime to surrender its nuclear weapons.

“If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit,” Kim said. He added that Trump risked becoming a “more tragic and unsuccessful president than his predecessors” if he didn’t accept North Korea as a nuclear power.

South Korea’s KOSPI edged up 0.3% by 9:35PM ET (01:35 GMT).

Meanwhile, The U.S. and China are set for trade talks on Thursday in Washington, two senior Trump administration officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, according to reports.

The meeting comes after Liu told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that he would work hard to address the U.S.-China trade imbalance and other problems with the trading relationship.

However, the lawmakers said the fate of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp (HK:0763) was not discussed during the meeting. Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he wanted to help ZTE gets back in business after a ban that cut off its supply of U.S. components earlier this month.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component opened 0.1% and 0.2% lower.

Hong Kong-listed Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) made headlines as the company’s stock surged as much as 7% after delivering better-than-expected profit. The company posted a 61% jump in net income last quarter, outperforming estimates by almost a third. The Hang Seng Index was little changed at 31,101 in morning trade.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4% after data on Wednesday showed its March industrial production output rose 1.4%, compared to the estimates of a 1.2% gain.

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4% despite official data showed on Thursday that the country’s economy added 22.6K jobs in April, more than economists’ expectation of 20.3k additions.

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