Saturday, December 7, 2013

Korea and the U.S. Hold Inaugural ICT Sector Discussions

Although they went unnoticed by most of the mainstream press South Korea and the United States held a long-overdue round of high-profile talks in November in Washington, D.C. aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation in the ICT sector. As reported by Yonhap News, "The ICT Policy Forum is a fruit of summit talks between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington in May."
In a joint statement released by the U.S. State Department, the two sides said "ROK (South Korea) and U.S. government and industry representatives held extensive deliberations and reached a broad consensus on a range of policy and regulatory issues, including cooperation on the creative economy, collaboration on ICT policy that promotes innovation and fosters the global and open nature of the Internet, cyber security, and joint responses to international policy discussions."
South Korea was represented by Vice Minister Yoon Jong-lok at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP). His American counterpart was Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation that preceded the forum, Yoon emphasized that digital cooperation will play a pivotal role in the Seoul-Washington alliance in the coming decades. That portion of his speech is in the accompanying video.
I believe Vice Minister Yoon's observation about the future of the U.S. Korea alliance is correct.   I also think that it suggests the clear need to broaden the ICT-sector policy discussions between the U.S. and Korea to include corporate, public/NGO and academic stakeholders along with the two governments and their respective agencies. The creation of a more broadly based civic and corporate network can only enhance the bilateral government links.  It also just makes sense to leverage the possibilities for policy collaboration that are inherent in the increasingly powerful and pervasive digital networks.

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