U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday raised expectations of a breakthrough after he said negotiations with China were "going very well," relieving some pressure in a week that has seen the U.S. announce tariffs on multiple other countries.
Separately, media reports suggested the world's top two economies were closer to agreeing on the amount of tariffs to be rolled back in a phase-one trade deal.
"However, until the day we see it (a trade deal) in black and white, investors are likely to remain cautious and vigilant on this matter," said Margaret Yang Yan, analyst at CMC Markets.
Resource and banking stocks helped the Indonesian index rise the most in the region.
Chemicals maker Chandra Asri Petrochemical advanced 1.6%, while lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) was 2.2% higher.
An index of the 45 most liquid stocks in Indonesia <.JKLQ45> gained 1.3%.
Singapore's benchmark index snapped six sessions of losses, helped by gains in the real estate and consumer sectors.
Real estate developer Capitaland rose 0.8%, while agribusiness company Wilmar International was up 2.5%.
Philippine stocks fell after the country's inflation accelerated to 1.3% in November from a year earlier, higher than October's 0.8% climb.
"The inflation data was slightly higher than the state's target, so there might be some dial back in the BSP's (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) easing measures, and the market is reacting to that," said Rachelle Cruz, an analyst at Manila-based AP Securities.
The index was also dragged by big cap stocks like Ayala Land and Metro Pacific, after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered https://in.reuters.com/article/philippines-politics-utilities/philippines-duterte-orders-prosecution-of-utilities-over-onerous-contracts-idINKBN1Y81PM the filing of criminal charges against two water utilities related to them.
"The sentiment is negative for foreign investors if there is political interference in businesses, especially as it is related to water infrastructure," Rachelle added.
Malaysian shares rose on gains in the consumer and banking sectors, while Vietnam stocks were slightly lower.
Markets in Thailand were closed for a public holiday.
By Soumyajit Saha