Full scripts: EU-ROK high-level conference on cybersecurity (June 30, 2023)

*Below are the full scripts of opening remarks and keynote speeches, provided by each speaker to The Readable.

Opening remarks by Park Yun-kyu, 2nd Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science & ICT, Republic of Korea

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon,
I am Park Yun-kyu, Vice Minister of Science and ICT of Korea.
Congratulations on the opening of
‘Republic of Korea & European Union
High-Level Conference on Cyber Security’
I would like to start by expressing
my sincere gratitude to
“Ms. Maria Castillo-Fernandez”,
Ambassador of the European Union
to the Republic of Korea,
“Mr. Daniel Wolvén”,
Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Korea,
and everyone who contributed to organizing the
I would also like to thank
“Mr. Thierry Breton”,
Commissioner for Internal Market
of the European Commission,
“Mr. Carl Fredrik Wettermark”,
Senior Director for Cyber Issues,
Prime Minister’s Office, Sweden,
and “Mr. Cho Hyun-woo”, Ambassador for International
Security Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition,
I would like to express my deep gratitude to
our distinguished guests and speakers
and stakeholders from industry and academia
for taking time out of their busy schedules
to be here with us today.
As we further enter the digital age,
cyber threats have become more complex
and they affect all countries and regions.
They put individuals and businesses in danger,
even national economy and security.
The Advent of generative AI,
such as Chat GPT, have made it easier for
cyber threats creep into our systems.
Ransomware is getting commercialized
through the dark web and cryptocurrency.
And even in conflicts between countries,
cyber operations are playing a central role,
as you can see in the case of Russia-Ukraine war.
In January,
the World Economic Forum
published the Global Risks Report 2023, and
“Widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity”
is listed as one of the top 10 risks
to humanity over the next 10 years.
With the growing cyber threats,
the importance of cyber security
is ever increasing to protect our daily lives,
economy and national security.
It has become one of the top priorities
for the digital age.
This circumstance, the Korean government
is carrying out diverse policies to improve
the national cyber threat response system
and build cyber security capacity.
First, to prepare for cyber threats induced
by digital technology diffusion,
we are promoting new security systems
such as a “zero trust” model
and software supply chain security,
We are also developing
new core security technologies
such as 6G and metaverse,
and promoting large-scale R&D projects
to secure active cyber security
response technologies.
to encourage the overall cyber security
capacity enhance by itself,
we are nurturing the cyber security sector
as one of the strategic industries
and improving outdated security regulations
that pose barriers to entry for
new security solutions and services.
With the goal of developing
“one hundred Thousand(100,000)” cyber security workforce,
cyber protection courses have been expanded
in undergraduate and graduate schools,
and training programs for top security
developers and white-hat hackersare
being actively carried out.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
International cooperation is
critical to effectively respond
to cross-border cyber threats.
Korea has established cyber security
cooperation networks with many countries
in diverse regions, including Europe,
Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa
and Latin America.
Notably, in last November,
Korea and the European Union
signed a Digital Partnership to jointly respond
to the rapidly increasing cyber threats.
This morning, the first Digital Partnership meeting
was held to have in-depth discussions
on cooperation measures
such as joint cyber security research,
cyber threat information sharing,
and policy exchanges.
I am confident that
this conference will serve as the cornerstone for
strengthening the cooperative ties
between our cyber security experts
and make our partnership go beyond
the government level and expand further
to the private sector.
There will be keynote presentations
and panel discussions on the theme of ‘Focusing
on the challenges and opportunities
for Industry’.
I hope that
this conference offers a meaningful opportunity
for the experts from industry and academia
to take a closer look at the present and the future
of cyber threats
and ponder on the roles of
the public and private sectors in addressing them.
The Korean government will continue
to work on improving the cyber security
cooperation networks with the EU
and take our partnership to the next level.
Congratulations once again on
‘Republic of Korea & European Union
High-Level Conference on Cyber Security’.
I sincerely wish you fruitful work
and all the best.
Thank you.

Keynote speech by Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market

Honorable Minister Park
Dear representative of the Swedish presidency of the EU,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very glad to participate to this conference on cybersecurity, here in Seoul.

Cybersecurity has become a global emergency. Every 11 seconds, an organisation around the globe is hit by a ransomware attack. In the first half of 2022, researchers recorded 2.8 billion malware attacks in the world. This is an 11 percent increase from the year before. Hospitals, ministries, universities, large infrastructures have been under attack in the EU and elsewhere.

Cyber threats know no borders. And in a globalised and interconnected world, cyber malign attacks can spread easily. Cooperation is therefore the only way to increase our collective resilience.

That is why I am very happy to be here in Korea, to discuss with the government and with all the stakeholders, including the industry, on how we can enhance in concrete terms our cyber cooperation from a technological, industrial, operationaland geopolitical point of view.

This is the sense of the initial step we took in the context of our EU/Republic of Korea digital partnership, but I believe we should now build a more ambitious partnership on cyber. I will come back on this.

Korea has a strong experience in responding to cyber threats. On its side, building on the assets and experience of its Member States, the European Union has step up its action to increase the EU-wide cyber resilience.

As the Commissioner in charge of this policy, I have been working over the last 3 years to raise the cyber resilience landscape of Europe at the right level. At the level required from a credible partner.

In this context, there are couple of messages that I would like to convey to you all today.

[Partnership with Korea on cyber]

My first message is that Europe & the Republic of Korea are facing a similar cyber threats landscape.

We all know of course the established cyber malware: viruses, ransomware, worms, Phishing, spyware or Trojan horses. There is a lot to be done just to deal with these, that are multiplying every year, often pushed by criminals eager to use a vulnerability to make profits. In a society and economy that will increasingly rely on digital technology this trend is a key challenge.

But our joint cybersecurity threat landscape is changing. We are not talking anymore only about well-known malware but also about cyber as an economic or military weapon, used to disrupt supply chains, threaten critical infrastructures, disorganize our societies, attack our democratic institutions and electoral processes, or simply spread disinformation. These hybrid attacks are raising in number and sophistication.

Every day, we are experiencing attempts, by authoritarian regimes and state-backed actors, to undermine the rules-based international order in cyberspace.

We see also a stark increase of malicious behaviour in cyberspace in recent years, endangering our critical infrastructures and targeting both civil and military assets.

As we face the same threats, we should work together to counter them.

And here is my second message today: the EU is ready to join forces with our advanced and strategic partners, like the Republic of Korea, to make the utmost to secure the open, global cyberspace and to work together to enhance our resilience to cyber-attacks.

And I am here in Seoul today to propose a more structured partnership on cyber.

I warmly welcome the inclusion of cybersecurity aspects in the Digital Partnership between the EU and the Republic of Korea.

Our Digital Partnership offers a very good cooperation basis.  It prepares the ground to enhance information sharing among EU and Korean players for instance through our respectiveInformation Sharing and Analysis Centres (ISACs).

This is key: Information sharing on tackling cyber-attacks, incident response, mitigation measures and preparatory controls is a requirement for improving cybersecurity.

The second aspect of our Digital Partnership is about establishing the foundations of cooperation in capacity-building exercises. We are eager to launch this with the Republic of Korea.

But I believe – and this is my third message to you: we should explore the opening of a new phase in our cooperation on cyber and launch a dedicated EU-Korea cyber dialogue of the same nature as the one we have with the US.

It shall focus on concrete operational cooperation and cyber resilience and serve as a forum for mutual exchange of experience on the necessary regulatory environment, the protection of critical infrastructures, cyber incident prevention, supply chain security, cybersecurity of products, as well as funding programmes.

In this perspective, I look forward to hearing more from EU and Korean stakeholders today on what would be necessary to structure this dialogue in the most efficient way.

[EU a credible actor on cybersecurity]

Over the last 3 years, in the EU, we have operated a true overall of the cyber cooperation to avoid fragmentation between our 27 Member States.

If cooperation is key for increasing our resilience to cyber, this is even more true in the EU integrated single market, where we are as strong as the weakest link when it comes to cyber. So, under my impulse, we have been working on several pillars.

First, we organised our single market to make it more cyber secure.

We set out high common requirements for essential economic operators so that they increase their cyber resilience, with strong risk management and incident reporting obligations.

We have also proposed to establish cybersecurity minimum requirements for any products (hardware or software) placed on the EU market, through a “cyber by design” approach. We are ready to work with our partners putting their products on our market to ensure a smooth implementation. These requirements will not discriminate between EU and non-EU originated products.

Second pillar, we are reducing our technological dependencies and security risk surface.

We have learned the hard way in Europe that any dependencies can be used against our own interest.

As part of a new economic and strategic approach on Economic security, Europe has decided to map its technological, supply chain and critical infrastructures dependencies and to work on reducing them to improve our collective security and de-risk its economic ties.

We decided to massively invest in certain technologies. In supercomputing, Europe has now the best infrastructure in the world for high performance computing. In Cloud, the industrial cloud and edge technologies are being developed. In Chips, we build on the excellence in research with IMEC and LETI, to be able to produce advanced node chips in Europe,perform advanced packaging and embed cybersecurity functionalities directly on the chips. In Quantum, we are putting forward a massive European plan to capitalise on the excellence of our research.

The security risk surface of our 5G networks, one of our key critical infrastructures is also at the centre of our preoccupations.

In 2020, we have recommended to all our Member States to restrict or forbid the presence of high-risk suppliers in the CORE and the RAN of their networks.

Indeed, we have strong concerns about the risks posed by certain suppliers of mobile network communication equipment, such as Huawei and ZTE, to the security of the Union. We will therefore exclude them from the 5G networks linked to the European Commission sites, and we will reflect this in our funding programmes.

As we strengthen the security requirements for 5G networks, we are also closely following technological developments, such as Open RAN and 6G.

Together with Member States, we looked at the security implications of OpenRAN architecture and concluded that while it might bring benefits, Open RAN also presents security risks, and is not yet a mature technology on security matters.

More investment in research and innovation in open architectures and their security and sustainability aspects is needed and Europe is actually leading on this front. We would be happy to partner with Korean actors in this field.

At the same time, we are investing on 6G development, and especially 6G standards. I believe this is a great potential source of partnerships between EU and Korean companies.

The Third and final pillar of our action is about our operational cooperation to face major cyberattacks. For this we are building a European network of Security Operation Centres enabled with AI technology and a EU cyber reserve to contract cyber industry to support a Member States under attack. The war in Ukraine revealed the importance of involving the private sector if we are to be serious about countering cyber threats.

We are also working, in partnership with NATO, on increasing the resilience of our critical infrastructure, including from the cyber threats. We would be keen in opening a discussion with Korea on the cybersecurity of critical infrastructures, especially connectivity infrastructures such as undersea cables or space-based connectivity.

Cyber being dual by nature, we are stepping up now our EU cyber defence policy, recognising cyber as a contested area and fully part of our newly defined defence doctrine.

In this perspective we are investing massively into cyber defence capacities through the European defence fund. We also strengthen our cyber diplomacy toolbox to work on attribution and a more offensive sanction regime.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Cybersecurity is a clear priority for Europe. While we are working at home to enhance our level of cyber resilience, we are also very much aware that Europe cannot do that in isolation.

We will continue our collaboration with our strategic partners to promote a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values.

Korea is a partner of first choice in this perspective.

I look forward to enhancing our cooperation with you in this essential domain.

You can count on me.

Thank you.

Keynote speech by Cho Hyun-woo, Ambassador for International Security Affairs, Republic of Korea

Mr. Park Yun Kyu, 2nd Vice Minister of the Ministry of
Science & ICT,
Mr. Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market,
Mr. Carl Fredrik Wettermark, Senior Director for Cyber
Issues of the Prime Minister Office of Sweden,
Ambassador Maria Castillo-Fernandez,
Ambassador Daniel Wolvén,
Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon, Co-director of ESIWA,
And Distinguished Guests,
It is my great honor and pleasure
to deliver a keynote speech at this esteemed venue.
The topic of today’s conference is very timely and
My special thanks go to the EU delegation to the Republic
of Korea, the Embassy of Sweden,
and the EU's ESIWA project for preparing today’s meeting.
Allow me to start my speech
with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King, who was a great leader of the American civil
rights movement, said
“Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
Obviously, he was referring to the importance of
protecting the civil rights of the minority.
But his remarks can be applied
when addressing the importance of cybersecurity.
This is because
no one can be free from the direct and indirect effects
of malicious cyber activities
in a closely interwoven digital world.
Cyberattacks are constantly evolving,
and their consequences are getting
more severe and broad.
According to a study
by the Korea Internet & Security Agency,
the economic and social costs of cyberattacks
on Korean industries
increased by approximately 1.6 times
from 2005 to 2020.
Furthermore, damages to individuals
amounted to around $1 billion in 2020 alone.
More seriously,
malicious cyber activities are increasingly being used
for political and military purposes,
reaching beyond their economic and social uses.
These activities now include the theft of advanced
industrial technologies,
attacks on critical infrastructure and supply chains,
and interference in the domestic politics of other countries
through the spread of disinformation and misinformation.
Beyond their impact on domestic politics,
international security is at stake.
The war in Ukraine demonstrated
that cyberspace can be a battlefield,
where cyber tools are used
for both attacks and defense.
North Korea is conducting malicious cyber activities
to secure funds for its nuclear weapons
and missile programs against international sanctions.
According to Chainalysis,
a blockchain analysis company,
the total value of North Korea's heisted cryptocurrency
reaches $3.2 billion from 2016 to 2022.
Keeping in mind
the daunting challenges in cybersecurity,
I would like to touch upon the three goals
that MOFA is trying to achieve
in promoting cybersecurity.
the Republic of Korea will take a leading role
in the discussion of international cyber norms and
Early this month,
Korea was elected as a non-permanent member
of the UN Security Council for the 2024-2025 term.
We will consult with other members of the Security
to put cybersecurity as one of the main agenda.
In addition, we will continue to promote cooperation
in relevant international organizations,
such as the International Telecommunication Union,
and in regional security organizations,
such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE) and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
In this regard,
Korea will closely cooperate with the EU member states
to establish the Programme of Action in the United Nations
as a new platform
for a more implementation-oriented discussion
on cyber norms.
Korea will continue to support
the cyber capacity building of the partner countries
with less resilience and resources.
There is a saying that
a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Likewise, a country is only safe
as the least safe one in the digital world.
Having said that,
I'd like to highlight President Yoon Suk Yeol’s decision
to increase Korea’s ODA by 21.3% compared to last year,
making the largest increase in our ODA history.
This is also in line
with President Yoon’s foreign policy vision
to be a Global Pivotal State (GPS)
and our willingness to enhance
the cybersecurity capabilities of partner countries.
One example of such efforts
is the "Workshop on Fostering Cybersecurity
Professionals", held on June 13th in Hanoi.
Korea and Vietnam jointly organized the workshop
under the ARF, of which the EU is also a member.
This workshop provided an invaluable opportunity
for all the participants
to share their best practices
in training cybersecurity professionals.
And the EU is no less interested
in cyber capacity building than Korea.
The EU announced its External Cyber Capacity Building
Guidelines in 2018 and has continued relevant endeavors.
I hope that Korea and the EU can work together
to develop joint capacity-building projects in the future.
Korea will further enhance cooperation
with like-minded countries
in deterring, preventing, and responding to cyber threats.
Among many examples, a case in point is North Korea.
Their illegal behavior in cyberspace
is not limited to the Korean Peninsula.
It is truly a global threat to the world.
In responding to such challenges,
I believe Korea and the EU will be natural partners.
Korea’s new National Cybersecurity Strategy
which will be announced soon
shares the vision of the EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy,
which is to build “a global, open, secure cyberspace
where international law, human rights, fundamental
freedoms, and democratic values are respected”.
In this May,
the leaders of Korea and the EU
announced their decision to enhance our cooperation
to respond to cyber threats,
including cybercrime, ransomware,
and cyberattacks from state and non-state actors.
To follow up on this decision,
I propose that we resume our bilateral Cyber Policy
Consultations in the near future.
I believe that our cooperation in cybersecurity
will serve as a key pillar
in strengthening our Strategic Partnership
established in 2010.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me conclude my speech
by emphasizing the importance of the private sector’s role.
The three goals I suggested
can only be achieved with close cooperation
with all stakeholders,
including industries, academia,
civil society, and individuals.
That is why today's conference
is all the more important.
By working together,
we can build an open, safe, and secure cyberspace.
Once again,
I thank you all for joining today
and look forward to fruitful discussions.


The description of the cover photo: Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, is delivering his keynote speech at the EU-ROK high-level conference on cybersecurity. Photo: Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton)