Tokyo resumed its surge on Thursday, leading a broad Asia rally following another record close on Wall Street, while investors are keeping tabs on a key meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
Global traders have been emboldened in recent weeks by a series of positive corporate results and data that indicate the world economy is on a sure footing.
Japan's Nikkei returned to its upward trajectory after Wednesday's retreat, with investors buoyed by a weaker yen, which has come under pressure from the dollar on lingering hopes for an overhaul of the US tax system.
"Foreign investors are actively buying Japanese shares" that are relatively cheap compared to shares in foreign markets, Hiroaki Hiwata, strategist at Toyo Securities, told AFP.
The two percent rise in the Nikkei in the morning came as Hong Kong added 0.6 percent, Sydney gained 0.4 percent and Seoul put on 0.1 percent. Shanghai was marginally higher while Singapore edged up 0.1 percent with Manila.
Trump and Xi are due to hold private talks Thursday on a number of issues with trade expected to be at the top of the agenda following the White House's long-running criticism of China's huge trade surplus with the United States.
The meeting comes a day after data showed the surplus remains elevated.
While the two leaders have swapped pleasantries and praised each other, Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said: "I'd expect President Trump to speak plainly though, as he did in Japan earlier this week."
- 'Olive branch' -
Also on the radar is the fate of Trump's tax-cut plans, with Senate and House Republicans at odds over some issues including when they should be introduced and the target for the national deficit increase.
"We are seeing parts of the package jettisoned already and overnight House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to offer an olive branch to the Senate's version of the plan which appears to call for a delay in the implementation phase," McKenna said.
Despite lingering uncertainty over one of Trump's key election pledges the dollar held its own against its major peers.
However, Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, cautioned: "I fear that in a desperate bid to have this pushed through, there could be risks that the policy changes being watered down further as a compromise for this (being) implemented immediately.
"The market has priced in the tax reforms influence, and delays or significant changes to the proposals will lead to a typical market tantrum."
On oil markets prices edged up after Wednesday's drop, which was fuelled by figures showing a rise in US stockpiles.
However, tensions in the Middle East are keeping dealers on their toes following Saudi Arabia's claim of "direct military aggression" by Iran over a Yemeni rebel missile attack near Riyadh.
- Key figures around 0230 GMT -
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.0 percent at 23,368.16 (break)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 29,091.50
Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,415.72
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1587 from $1.1594 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3111 from $1.3115
Dollar/yen: UP at 114.00 from 113.87 yen
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 10 cents at $56.91 per barrel
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 12 cents at $63.61
New York - DOW: FLAT at 23,563.36 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,529.72 (close)