China-India ties, opportunity in the 'Asia pivot,' South Korea's balancing act, young Japanese farmers, GMOs in China

This week's round-up of global commentary includes strengthening ties between China and India, Taiwan's opportunity in the 'Asia pivot,' how South Korea balances China and the US, a call to invest in young farmers in Japan, and addressing concerns about GMOs in China.

Tsering Topgyal/AP
Supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party, celebrate their party's victory in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. The upstart anti-corruption party has won a smashing victory in elections to install a state government in India's capital, officials said Tuesday, dealing a huge blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party.

The Times of India / Mumbai
Ties with China should be strengthened
“New Delhi would do well to adopt a calibrated approach to China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative to boost trade and connectivity,” states an editorial. “Chinese expertise in building infrastructure would certainly help India while inflow of Chinese investments can counter the yawning trade deficit. Beijing too should facilitate better Indian access to Chinese markets, especially in ... [sectors] such as IT and pharmaceuticals.... [T]here’s an urgent need to bridge the serious information deficit between people of the two countries. Despite ancient cultural linkages, we know very little about each other.... [C]ooperation between India and China ... [could] propel the common dream of an Asian century.”

Taipei Times / Taipei City, Taiwan
Asia pivot brings opportunities for Taiwan
“After a decade of antiterrorism efforts concentrated on Central Asia and the Middle East, the US has become an active player in shaping the balance of power between India and China...,” writes Joseph Tse-hei Lee. “Indian policymakers always view China as an interloper in South Asia, an external power that challenges India’s natural sphere of influence. As a rising power, China perceives South Asia as a legitimate area for flexing its muscles against India and the US. In response ... India has pursued security relations with China’s neighbors in the Pacific Ocean, especially Taiwan, Vietnam and Japan.... Although the future is contingent upon many circumstantial factors, the US pivot toward South Asia has opened a new door for Taiwan to reset its diplomatic agenda and to boost its business and cultural ties with India.”

The Korea Herald / Seoul, South Korea
South Korea’s challenge of balancing between world powers
“Korea now finds itself in an awkward position in discussing free trade schemes with the world’s two largest economies – the U.S. and China...,” states an editorial. “Korea had dragged its feet on deciding whether to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership while engaging in trade talks with China. Seoul officials seemed particularly worried about disrupting China’s push for its own version of a regional bloc named the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.... This is yet another reminder of the difficulties or risks Korea faces in trying to strike a delicate balance between China and the U.S.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo
Japan should invest in its young farmers
“Japan’s agriculture is characterized by large numbers of small-scale farming units and aging farmers. Many farming communities are located in mountainous areas. One wonders whether the government’s blueprint is applicable in such conditions and whether it will in fact help revitalize these farming communities,” states an editorial. “While the nation’s farmers are aging and many of them have no one to take over their operations when they retire, some young people are interested in taking up agriculture. The administration should seriously consider how to help these young people start careers in farming since they could play a leading role in revitalizing the farming sector and the nation’s rural economies.”

China Daily / Beijing
Public needs reassurance about safety of GM crops
“As usual, the top leadership’s first ‘document’ of the year was exclusively agricultural...,” states an editorial. “[T]his year’s document is the first to incorporate the proposal to popularize scientific knowledge related to the use of genetic modification.... For too long, the discourse over genetically modified crops in China has been more like furious name-calling between those for and against.... One strange thing throughout the discourse, however, has been the conspicuous absence of the authorities.... Not only has there been little mention about exactly what is going on in the labs and experimental plots. They have [also] been notoriously mute on the safety of GM crops.... GM technologies, GM food in particular, have been unpopular thus far not because they have proven unsafe, but mostly because the authorities have been unnecessarily quiet.”

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