South Korean President warns of North Korea’s interference in April election

South Korean President warns of North Korea’s interference in April election

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Feb. 1, 2024 8:00PM GMT+9

On Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol acknowledged awareness of and expressed preparedness for North Korea’s efforts to disrupt the general election scheduled for April.

At the annual Central Integrated Defense Council meeting, President Yoon highlighted the persistent attempts by the North Korean government to undermine South Korea’s democracy over the past seven decades. He pointed out that these efforts were particularly pronounced in years when South Korea was dealing with significant political issues. The meeting, which brought together over 170 officials from various sectors including the intelligence agency, military, and police, served as a platform for these discussions. This annual defense meeting plays a crucial role in addressing and strategizing against such provocations and influence operations.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is delivering his remarks during the annual central integrated defense council meeting held on January 31. Source: Office of the President 

President Yoon expressed concerns about North Korea’s expected provocations aimed at meddling with this year’s election. South Korea’s parliamentary election will take place on April 10 where voters will elect 300 lawmakers who will serve in the National Assembly for the next four years. Yoon further outlined potential interference attempts, including border provocations, unmanned aircraft intrusions, fake news, and cyberattacks.

“National security,” Yoon explained, “carries a dual significance. It encompasses the physical aspect of safeguarding the nation’s territory and its citizens, as well as the ideological aspect of preserving its democratic system. These are the two sides of the same coin.” Yoon added that, “while the military is fundamentally tasked with national defense, in times of a security crisis, collaboration among private entities, the government, the military, and the police is essential to bolster the country’s defense measures.”

Yoon added that the defense meeting’s focus would be on scrutinizing practical defense strategies against potential North Korean provocations against the South. He underscored the threat of cyberattacks, which could instantly disrupt people’s lives in our interconnected world. This connectivity also makes us vulnerable to fake news and disinformation campaigns, which can cause significant societal confusion. Yoon assured that they would thoroughly discuss proactive measures to safeguard the nation against harmful activities like cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, fake news, and influence operations.

This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.