Asian markets traded sideways on Friday, following a flat to lower close on Wall Street, in a light regional data day.
In South Korea, the Kospi added 0.67 percent or 14.5 points at 2,164.58 as the won weakened against the dollar.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Seoul today, as part of his visit to Asia. Tillerson said on Thursday in Japan that part of his visit was to find a "new approach" to deal with threats from North Korea.
China's Shanghai composite fell 0.97 percent or 31.6 points to close at 3,237.31 and the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.81 percent or 16.6 points at 2,029.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat by 3:05 pm HK/SIN.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag carrier, was up 1.26 percent after the company confirmed a Reuters report that it would target deep management cost cuts at its headquarters by 30 percent. The airline reported its first full-year net loss last year since 2008.
China pledged a firm response if Japan were to interfere in the South China Sea, after Reuters reported on a Japanese plan to send its largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, to the disputed waters.
The carrier is expected to make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, Reuters reported. This would be Japan's biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two. fg
Over in Southeast Asia,Singapore's posted its strongest non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in February, up 21.5 percent on-year. The February export figures beat a Reuters poll of an expected 12.8 percent gain from the previous year.
Major U.S. indexes closed mostly lower, weighed by losses in the healthcare sector after U.S. President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint that proposed cutting spending for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.07 percent at 20,934.55, the S&P 500 closed lower by 0.16 percent to 2,381.38 and the Nasdaq composite closed nearly flat at 5,900.76.