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Asian Stocks Fall; Pompeo Expects Trade War to End by 2020 - Asian stocks fell in morning trade on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comment received some attention as he said he expects the Sino-U.S. trade war to end by 2020, but urged Beijing to respect Hong Kong's pro-democracy protestors' rights and the city's autonomy because they are important for a trade deal.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.2% and 0.3% respectively by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei traded 0.4% lower, while South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.2%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 dropped 1.0%.

Concerns about a global economic slowdown continued to be cited as headwinds for the markets today.

Traders also remained cautious amid conflicting signs on the Sino-U.S. trade front. U.S. President Donald Trump said he had to “take China on” even if it would cause short-term impact on U.S. economy.

"Somebody had to take China on," Trump told reporters during a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. "This is something that had to be done. The only difference is I am doing it," he said.

"China has been ripping this country off for 25 years, for longer than that and it's about time whether it's good for our country or bad for our country short term. Long term it's imperative that somebody does this," he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a private lunch on Tuesday that he beliveves the trade war with China could end by the end of 2020, according to CNBC who cited people who attended the gathering.

Tensions between the two sides seemingly eased somewhat after the U.S. extended a license that allows tech giant Huawei to continue doing business with U.S. companies.

Monetary policy will dictate movements in the stock markets in the coming days, as the U.S. Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its July meeting later in the day while Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to give a speech on Friday.

Analysts currently expect the central bank to cut rates at its meeting next month. Trump previously said the Fed should cut interest rates by at least 100 basis points and add “some” quantitative easing for good measure.

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