APLN member John McCarthy spoke on US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s visit to China. He pointed out that this series of meetings between Blinken and senior Chinese officials may be seen as a sign that both sides are willing to step back from their previously difficult positions. While it is hard to gauge any significant progress made during these meetings, the fact that they engaged in lengthy discussions and the potential for a meeting between President Xi and President Biden later in the year are positive indications.
Ambassador McCarthy also briefly discussed Australia’s Five Eyes Initiative and how it is viewed differently by China and the West. He argued that the Five Eyes serves as a valuable intelligence-sharing organization; however, using it as a policy platform can create a negative perception in Southeast Asia due to historical colonization experiences.