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Can he get through to the North?

The new South Korean leader is likely to be friendlier to the North than his predecessor.

Moon Jae-In has taken over in South Korea at a time of heightened tension with the North. But as Steve Evans in Seoul explains, he's likely to be less hostile that some previous South Korean presidents. Photo: The new president of South Korea, Moon Jae-In, makes a telephone call Credit: AFP/Getty

US earnings boost Asian markets

man walks past tokyo stock board

A handful of Asian markets are all in the plus column, tracking US market gains after another record close on Wall Street, where investors were focused on strong quarterly earnings from corporate America. 

Japan's Nikkei 225 index was up 0.18% at midday, as a drop in the yen boosted buying in exporters' shares. 

Australia's resource-heavy S&P ASX 200 saw a gain of 0.43% driven by the overnight uptick in oil prices. 

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng index rose 0.8%, meanwhile China's Shanghai composite saw a 0.26% gain. 

But the South Korean market was the exception in the region. The Kospi index was down 0.7% on profit-taking after liberal politician Moon Jae-in won the presidential election. He was sworn in earlier in the day. 

Moon Jae-in reacts after winning the nomination as a presidential candidate of the Minjoo Party, during a national convention, in Seoul, South Korea on 3 April

Dr John Nilsson-Wright

Chatham House

South Korea's new leader will need diplomatic flexibility to confront many challenges, writes Dr John Nilsson-Wright.

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