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Tokyo — Asian stocks stepped ahead on Friday as sentiment improved on a report that more progress has been made in US-China trade talks and after UK legislators voted to delay a potentially chaotic exit from the EU. Chinese vice-premier Liu He spoke by telephone with US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency said on Friday. Yet, the prospect of the trade talks taking longer than expected tempered the cheer, and there was still no clarity on how close the two economic powers are on reaching an agreement. Mnuchin said on Thursday that a summit to seal a trade deal between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will not happen at the end of March as previously discussed because more work is needed in negotiations. The MSCI broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite index added 1.3%. Jap...

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