Investors took heart after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg in an interview that the United States and China are planning to hold meetings in January to "document an agreement" on trade.
The dispute between the world's two biggest economies threatens businesses throughout the region due to global value chains.
"Positive signals on the trade war front are stabilising risk in Asia," Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said in a note.
Philippine shares <.PSI>, the top performers in the region, closed at their highest level in two weeks.
Industrial and financial stocks were the biggest boost in the index, with DMCI Holdings Inc ending 6.8 percent higher, while Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc closed up 5.5 percent.
Singapore stocks <.STI> ended firmer on the back of financial stocks, while Indonesian shares <.JKSE> snapped three straight sessions of declines to close higher.
Top performers computer and electronics retailer Global Teleshop Tbk closed 25 percent firmer, while Bank Agris Tbk ended 24.5 percent higher.
Malaysian stocks <.KLSE> ended 1.2 percent higher, after plumbing near two-year lows in the previous session.
Thai shares reversed course during early trade to edge higher, as gains in financial and industrial stocks offset losses in energy companies.
However, caution prevailed ahead of the highly anticipated U.S. Federal Reserve meeting scheduled later on Wednesday amid expectations that their hawkish stance may give way to a "dovish" hike. [MKTS/GLOB]
Bucking the trend, Vietnamese stocks <.VNI> slipped 0.9 percent to notch their fifth straight session in the red, with financial stocks being the biggest drag.
The slump was due to a technical sell-down, owing to the recent strength that had pushed the index to a level above 960 points, said Bui Nguyen Khoa, head of macro research, BIDV Securities Company.
Macro-economic factors and local business remained sound in the country, he said, adding that global downtrend in equities could apply some psychological pressure, pushing the index to about 880 points-900 points where it would stabilize again.
Shares in Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade closed 4.9 percent lower, while Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam lost about 1.3 percent.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3058.65 3045.54 0.43
Bangkok 1601.12 1583.19 1.13
Manila 7579.62 7420.4 2.15
Jakarta 6176.094 6081.867 1.55
Kuala Lumpur 1655.66 1635.31 1.24
Ho Chi Minh 919.24 927.25 -0.86
Change on year
Market Current End prev yr Pct Move
Singapore 3058.65 3402.92 -10.12
Bangkok 1601.12 1753.71 -8.70
Manila 7579.62 8,558.42 -11.44
Jakarta 6176.094 6,355.65 -2.83
Kuala Lumpur 1655.66 1796.81 -7.86
Ho Chi Minh 919.24 984.24 -6.60
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
By Rashmi Ashok