South Korea’s foreign ministry to introduce Ambassador for International Cyber Cooperation

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Mar. 8, 2024 10:23PM GMT+9

South Korea’s foreign ministry is set to rename the position of one of its high-ranking officials, marking a step in its strategy to bolster its capabilities in the cyber domain.

On March 8, multiple local news outlets reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced plans to revise the title of the Ambassador for International Security Affairs to “Ambassador for International Cyber Cooperation.” This change is part of a broader initiative to enhance the ministry’s focus and capabilities in the cyber domain. Presently, the foreign ministry oversees three ambassadors, each responsible for distinct areas: public diplomacy, climate change, and international security affairs.

The Ambassador for International Security Affairs has actively participated in diplomatic discussions with counterparts from other countries to enhance cybersecurity collaboration. In January, Ambassador Rhee Dong-yeol engaged with Liesyl Franz, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. During this meeting, they reiterated their commitment to strengthening their partnership in cyberspace. Furthermore, over the past year, the ambassador has been involved in talks aimed at bolstering cyber cooperation with representatives from several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

The proposed modifications are integral to the foreign ministry’s inventive strategy for organizational restructuring. On March 7, at a press briefing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cho Tae-yul, unveiled plans to augment the responsibilities of the Office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, which primarily addresses concerns related to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The restructured entity will have an expanded scope, encompassing the oversight of diplomatic strategy, diplomatic intelligence, international security, and cybersecurity.

During a press briefing, Cho elaborated on the rationale behind the reorganization, stating, “This reorganization acknowledges that the responsibilities of the peninsula office extend beyond merely addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. The situation has evolved into a broader challenge that necessitates consideration of both the direct and indirect effects of these nuclear threats, including issues like cybersecurity and financial sanctions.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang. 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.