South Korea hosts the 4th Korea-US ICT Policy Forum

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has recently hosted the 4th Korea - US ICT Policy Forum on 22 June at the Seoul Lotte Hotel. 

Conducted jointly between the MSIT and the United States Department of State, the Korea-US ICT Policy Forum saw high-level discussion on a range of ICT-related issues such as international cybersecurity cooperation and 5G commercialisation policy.

First launched in 2013, the Korea - US ICT Policy Forum provides a common platform between the USA and South Korea to not only share technical and policy expertise in information and communications technology, but also keep mutually abreast of ICT trends in both countries. 

As South Korea continues to push towards digital transformation, this year’s forum also provided an avenue to  “discuss ways to cooperate for joint response in the era of the fourth industrial revolution”.

The 4th instalment of the forum was chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber Affairs of the State Department Robert Strayer and MSIT Chief of ICT policy division Yang Hwan-Jung, and consisted of presentations and projects on the following 6 themes: ICT policy, international organisation cooperation, cybersecurity, cross-border flow of information, 5G mobile communication and artificial intelligence (AI).

At the inter-ministerial level, the MSIT unveiled the “I-KOREA 4.0 People- centered 4th Industrial Revolution Response Plan” and announced plans to create “smart infrastructure” based on the Data-Network-AI framework (DNA) to support smart technology convergence.

Delegates from the US Department of State shared policies and regulatory improvement activities that are currently being pursued, such as digital economy revitalisation and artificial intelligence, and stressed the importance of policy sharing and coordination between the two countries.

I-KOREA 4.0 is South Korea’s national blueprint for digital transformation in the 4th Industrial Revolution. The policy encompasses 4 “I”s — intelligence, innovation, inclusiveness and interaction — and emphasises 4 core strategies such as the promotion of “intelligent innovation projects” such as drone technology and autonomous transportation and  improving quality of life based on “social problem solving”. 

A convergence of technological innovation, industrial change and social welfare, I-KOREA 4.0 is designed to be a holistic roadmap informing South Korea’s efforts to address the challenges and opportunities posed by the 4th Industrial Revolution.

In addition to mutual sharing of current ICT policy trends, delegates from both countries also reaffirmed their commitment to promoting “sustainable development for mankind” via cooperative ICT initiatives in international organisations such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By extending cooperation beyond bilateral efforts, it is hoped that both countries’ sharing ICT expertise will help foster more transparent global internet governance.

Recognising the importance of data in the 4th Industrial Revolution, both countries also pledged to expand the scope of sharing information on ICT threats and infringements, as well as formulate joint responses to these issues.  

The promotion of greater information exchange between South Korea and the USA and an enhanced level of privacy protection reaffirms both countries’ endorsement of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System.

A voluntary system that is intended to facilitate “privacy-respecting data flows” among APEC economies, the APEC CPBR system is currently administered in the following six participating economies: USA, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Singapore, and South Korea.

As a common platform for mutual sharing, attendees of the Korea-US ICT Policy Forum also encompass private South Korean and American enterprises who exchanged views on policies regarding the commercialisation of 5G mobile communications technology.

“Recent socio-economic changes as a result of new ICT technologies pose challenges that exceed the capacity of individual countries,” said South Korea’s chief delegate Yang Byung-Jung, who is Director of Telecom Policy at MSIT. 

“I hope that this forum will create new business opportunities between Korea and the US in the field of ICT and strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. "

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