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Augmenting cybersecurity after Camp David

At the South Korea-U.S.-Japan summit held at the Camp David on Aug. 18, important changes for the future of the three countries have started. The three countries drew up three agreements based on the commitment, principles and spirit of the summit. It is expected that South Korea, Japan and the United States will become members of a major cooperation body in Northeast Asia, like the QUAD — a security consultative group among the United States, Japan, Australia and India — and the Aukus, a trilateral security partnership of Australia, Britain and the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. This is another major step forward since the upgrade of the Korea-U.S. alliance to a comprehensive alliance at the bilateral summit in April commemorating the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

As Japan was included in this new cooperation entity, various sensitive issues — such as the territorial disputes over Dokdo islets and the East Sea, as well as the discharge of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant — are being intertwined in the cooperation. Furthermore, since it is trilateral cooperation to counter China, controversy has been raised over South Korea’s relations with China and what each of the three countries will gain and lose through the trilateral cooperation.

And yet, the tripartite cooperation is a great step forward for our national security, economic development and future prosperity. It will also be a milestone in terms of cyberspace, the key for our future. We must come up with strategies and detailed follow-up measures to continue the cooperation agreed to at Camp David to reinforce our national security and interest.

First, we must pay attention to security. Amid North Korea’s persistent nuclear and missile threats, South Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation is a must to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula.

As North Korea is funding its nuclear and missile programs through hacking of cryptocurrencies, it is encouraging that the three countries specifically made it clear to cooperate to block the North’s cyber activities.

Another important achievement was the trio’s agreement to cooperate on regional threats in Northeast Asia from China and Russia, too. South Korea, Japan and the United States agreed to carry out cooperative measures such as information sharing and joint military exercises to collectively respond to threats from another country. This will be a major means for South Korea to respond to threats in the Northeast Asia.

Another area to note is cooperation on major emerging technologies such as AI. Major countries are competing for supremacy, recognizing AI as a “transitional technology” that will change the paradigm. Several challenges are emerging in this field, such as AI-related security, global governance, standardization and reliability verification. In this respect, trilateral cooperation in the field of AI will be a major resource for South Korea in the competition to secure the leadership for the future of AI.

Agreement to cooperate for innovative technologies, supply chains and space-related activities are also important gains for the South. The three countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in high-tech fields such as semiconductors, quantum computing and energy and to work together in the fields of global standardization, joint researches between research institutes and people-to-people exchanges. In addition, the leaders agreed to make various response efforts on establishing an early warning system to secure the safety of the global supply chains for key items, including semiconductors, and sharing information on key countries and items. Cooperation on space is also a significant achievement considering the importance of space in the future.

One final point worth noting is cyber security. AI quantum computing technology is eventually linked to cyberspace, and the chip supply chains and space also affect cyberspace. As cybersecurity is a key area for a country’s national security, economic activities and future prosperity, we must establish strong cybersecurity. Expectations are high that the three countries will have a new cybersecurity cooperation on top of the Korea-U.S. cybersecurity cooperation framework agreed in April.

The cooperation agreed to at Camp David is a milestone for our national security and future prosperity. As it must not become a subject of political dispute, we should put together wisdom and devise follow-up measures for Korea’s security and interest.

“Oppenheimer,” a movie about the development of atomic bombs, has become a hit. The Manhattan Project is not an achievement of Oppenheimer alone or the United States alone. It was a collective achievement and collaborations of countries such as England and Canada and scientists from many countries, including Germany. It was also an example of the importance of science and technology in national security. After the Cold War, the core of global hegemonic competition is science and technology.

We are facing major challenges such as the 4th industrial revolution centered on AI and the era of massive digital transformation. At this critical juncture, Korea, the United States and Japan took a meaningful step to establish a cooperative body in technology and economy as well as security. I hope that the cooperation stemming from Camp David summit will become a “Manhattan Project” for Korea’s national security and future prosperity.

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily