Asian Markets Mixed; Sino-U.S. Trade Talks Back in Focus 

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Friday. The U.S.-China trade war was back in focus after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Washington “does not seek confrontation with China,” nor does it want to “contain China’s development.”

However, Pence criticized Beijing’s building of a “surveillance state,” and “increasingly provocative” military action, as well as its handling of the protests in Hong Kong.

“Beijing has increased its interventions in Hong Kong and engaged in actions that curtail the rights and liberties that Hong Kong’s people were guaranteed through a binding international agreement,” Pence said Thursday in a speech at the Wilson Center in Washington.

Addressing the demonstrators, Pence said: “We stand with you.”

China’s Shanghai Composite and the both fell 0.5% by 10:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was also down 0.5%.

Earlier reports said China and the U.S. reached a “phase one” trade deal, and that China’s spending on U.S. farm goods will increased to $40 billion to $50 billion over two years under the new deal.

China would also agree to certain intellectual-property measures and concessions related to financial services and currency. In exchange, the U.S. delayed a tariff increase scheduled for this month on about $250 billion of Chinese imports.

The leaders from the two sides may officially sign the partial agreement next month, reports suggested.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was little changed at 22,745.50. South Korea’s KOSPI was unchanged at 2,085.10.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 bucked the downward trend and gained 0.7%.

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