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Asian Shares Mixed Amid Trade Tensions

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Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday amid renewed geopolitical and trade tensions after China accused the U.S. of fueling cybersecurity fears.

The Chinese government on Monday accused the U.S. of attempting to curtail its technology development by putting pressure on allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei Technologies.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told the BBC that the arrest of his daughter and chief financial officer of the company, Meng Wanzhou, is "politically motivated."

Chinese shares ended roughly flat as investors awaited the outcome of a new round of talks between the U.S. and China taking place in Washington.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index finished inched up 1.29 points or 0.1 percent to 2,755.65, although Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 118.88 points or 0.4 percent to 28,228.13.

Japanese shares hit fresh two-month highs, with defensive stocks rising as trade talks between the U.S. and China continue in Washington.

The Nikkei 225 Index crept up 20.80 points or 0.1 percent to 21,302.65, its highest close since mid-December. The broader Topix closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,606.52, the highest level in two months.

Chubu Electric Power, Tokyo Gas and East Japan Railway rose 2-3 percent. Honda Motor gained 0.4 percent on reports it plans to announce the closure of its Swindon car plant in 2022, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs.

Meanwhile, SoftBank Group plummeted 3.3 percent on a Wall Street Journal report that its key investors were unhappy with the high valuation of its flagship Vision Fund.

Australian markets ended solidly higher as gains in the financial sector helped offset disappointing earnings reports.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 17.10 points or 0.3 percent to 6,106.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 13.50 points or 0.2 percent at 6,184.20.

Lender ANZ jumped 2.3 percent after the lender's chief executive admitted the bank might have been too cautious in its home lending decisions. The other three banks rose between 1 percent and 1.7 percent.

Wealth manager IOOF Holdings soared 16.4 percent after it posted a 5.0 percent increase in half-yearly underlying profit.

On the flip side, vitamin maker Blackmores plunged 25 percent after the company said it was reviewing its investment approach in China amid a general softening of consumer sentiment.

Hearing implant maker Cochlear slumped 8.1 percent after the company said it was facing increased competition in the U.S. and Germany.

Oil & gas producer Oil Search also dropped 1.5 percent after its annual profit missed estimates.

Seven West Media plunged 8 percent and Coles Group fell over 4 percent on disappointing half-year results.

Seoul stocks fluctuated in a narrow range before ending modestly lower after data showed the country's export prices fell for the third consecutive month to reach a 27-month low in January. The benchmark Kospi ended down 5.26 points or 0.2 percent at 2,205.63.

New Zealand shares ended slightly lower on concerns about slowing growth in the U.S., China and Europe. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 21.18 points or 0.2 percent to 9,224.26. Index heavyweight A2Milk Company tumbled as much as 6.5 percent before closing down 2.2 percent at $12.87.

Singapore's Straits Times index was marginally lower after a government report showed the country's exports declined the most in over two years in January. Non-oil domestic exports dropped 10.1 percent year-on-year following an 8.5 percent decline in December.

The U.S. markets were closed overnight for Washington's Birthday.

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