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Asian Stocks Slide as Trump Cancels North Korea Summit

Asian stocks were mostly lower in afternoon trade – Asian stocks were mostly lower in afternoon trade on Friday amid fragile market sentiment following news that U.S. President Donald Trump called off the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, though investor concerns were eased by expectations the two countries may still continue dialogue.

The White House released a letter by Trump to Kim, in which the U.S. president regarding the cancelled summit. Trump cited “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent statements from Pyongyang and called the outcome a setback for both North Korea and the world.

“While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially, I believe this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world,” Trump said at the White House on Thursday.

In response, North Korea’s government said in a statement that it was surprised at the cancellation, but noted that it remained willing to meet with the U.S. at any time.

“Our goal and will to do everything for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind remains unchanged, and we are always willing to give time and opportunity to the US side with a big and open mind,” according to the statement. “We express our intent that there is a willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues.”

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component was 0.1% and 0.4% lower at 1:05PM ET (05:05 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2%.

Although not a directional driver, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to visit China from June 2 to 4 to further discuss Sino-U.S. trade relations.

The report added that China's vice premier Liu He had spoken with Ross in a phone call but did not provide any details.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged China to further open its home market received some focus.

“We understand that China is still developing, but we also see that in some areas China is the absolute technology leader,” Merkel said at a Germany-China business forum she attended with Li. “So in these areas we naturally want reciprocal access. Otherwise, this will gradually lead to us putting in place constraints -- perhaps too many constraints, and that wouldn’t be good.”

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.02%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.2% lower in afternoon trade.

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