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Asian Equities Mixed as Investors Assess Impact of U.S.-led Strikes on Syria

Asian equities were mixed in morning trade on Monday – Asian equities were mixed in morning trade on Monday as traders assessed the impact of the U.S.-led strikes on Syria and the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Russia.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared “mission accomplished” via Twitter over the weekend, a day after the U.S., France and Britain launched 105 missiles that reportedly targeted three chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Sunday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would announce new sanctions related to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his chemical weapons on Monday.

In Asia, reports that China and Japan agreed to work together to push North Korea to give up its nuclear program caught some attention, as the move showed sign of improved cooperation between the two countries.

“To get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and missiles in a complete, irreversible and verifiable way, we agreed we must enforce the relevant Security Council resolutions and work closely together,” Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters on Sunday after a meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% by 10:09PM ET (02:09 GMT), while the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component fell 0.8% and 0.3% respectively.

Meanwhile, “tens of thousands” of people joined a protest in Japan on Saturday and called the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a “liar” and requested his resignation, following fresh scandal over deployments of Japanese soldiers to Iraq from 2004 to 2006.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.1% in morning trade. Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) made headlines after its unit Samsung SDS Co Ltd (KS:018260) said it is considering a blockchain ledger system that could potentially cut shipping cost by 20%.

Investors’ attention now turn to the economic calendar later this week, as China is due to report its first-quarter GDP, as well as its March retail sales and industrial output data. Japanese trade and inflation figures, and Australian jobs data are also due later this week.

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