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HomeWorldCybersecurity, a priority for S. Korea during UNSC presidency: Envoy

Cybersecurity, a priority for S. Korea during UNSC presidency: Envoy

United Nations, June 4: Cybersecurity is a priority for South Korea as it takes over the presidency of the UN Security Council amid the emerging global threats, according to Seoul’s Permanent Representative Joonkook Hwang.

“Malicious activities in cyberspace such as cyberattacks, the targeting of critical infrastructure are already widely considered as amplified threats to international peace and security and they are transnational nature,” he said on Monday.

He said that cybersecurity is one of the priorities for South Korea’s presidency of the Council and Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yeol will preside over a signature event where Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will speak. The Council, as the “primary organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, should and can address this emerging but critical security matter in a manner complementary to the ongoing discussions in the General Assembly”, he said. “So, we are keen on enhancing the role and attention of the Security Council engagement to more active engagement over the Security Council on this matter,” he added.

Before Joonkook’s news conference, the already hostile relations between North and South Koreas took another nosedive with Seoul announcing that it will suspend the military agreement with Pyongyang reached in 2018 to ease tensions.

North Korea engaged in several provocations, including multiple short-range ballistic missile tests, military reconnaissance and sending the balloons filled with trash over the border, Joonkook said, “and we are now responding”. He said that he would convene a meeting of the Council if there were further provocations from the North. He said he planned to hold a meeting on North Korea and human rights as it is linked to other issues involving Pyongyang. North Korea’s programme to develop weapons of mass destruction “is closely intertwined with the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the country, like two sides of the same coin”, he said.

Asked if he expected pushback from Pyongyang’s allies, China and Russia, he acknowledged that “some countries have some reservations about these human rights issues being discussed in the Security Council”. “We know the logic”, but unlike other countries, Pyongyang’s “human rights situation is officially on the Security Council agenda” and “this is unique to North Korea”, he said. But he said that in the past “the overwhelming support to have a meeting actually surpassed some dissenting views”.

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