Asian markets traded mixed on Wednesday, as risk appetite appeared to recover slightly after taking a knock earlier on news that a top Trump economic advisor would be resigning.
The Nikkei 225 hovered around the flat line, paring losses after earlier sliding around 1 percent.
South Korea's Kospi reversed early losses to edge higher by 0.62 percent on strength in the technology and manufacturing sectors, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics advancing 3.19 percent. Steelmaker Posco rose 1.43 percent.
Overnight news that North Korea was open to talks with the U.S. on denuclearization was also in focus as stocks with exposure to North Korea jumped. Shinwon, which Reuters said formerly managed factories in the Kaesong industrialized zone, surged 18.27 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.7 percent. All of the benchmark's sub-indexes traded in the red, with the exception of gold producer stocks, which rose 2.17 percent.
Greater China markets were subdued. The Hang Seng Index shed 0.08 percent, while mainland markets were mixed: The Shanghai composite edged up 0.19 percent and the Shenzhen composite traded lower by around the same level.
Trade fears, which had eased slightly in recent sessions, were in focus after White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn resigned from the Trump administration.
While Cohn's departure date has not been announced, the development comes after Trump's announcement last week that tariffs would be implemented on steel and aluminum imports. Cohn, a free trade advocate, had been against the tariffs.
The dollar slid against the safe-haven yen on the news, fetching 105.81 at 9:36 a.m. HK/SIN, after falling as low as 105.43 earlier and compared to the 106.11 seen at the end of the New York session.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust also fell 1.5 percent while U.S. stock index futures traded lower. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 289 points after earlier falling by more than 400 points.
Following Trump's threat that European Union car taxes could be taxed after the bloc said it would not sit idly by US tariffs, one expert cautioned that tensions could continue to simmer.
"It won't end there. It is not hard to characterize current market behavior as complacent," wrote ING Chief Economist Robert Carnell in a note.
In corporate news, Japan's Kobe Steel on Tuesday said CEO Hiroya Kawasaki would resign on April 1 following a data falsification scandal. Shares of Kobe Steel were down 5.32 percent, under-performing the broader index.
What's on tap
Here's the economic calendar for Wednesday (all times in HK/SIN):
4:00 p.m.: China foreign exchange reservesMalaysia's central bank will make its interest rates decision at 3:00 p.m. later in the day.