The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation on digital economy policy issues during the sixth meeting of the U.S.-ROK Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Forum held in Seoul from November 15 to 16, 2021.
Vice Minister Cho Kyeongsik of the ROK Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment José Fernandez of the U.S. Department of State delivered keynote speeches at the forum. Director General Kim Seong-Gyu of MSIT’s International Cooperation Bureau led the ROK delegation and Stephen Anderson, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy, led the U.S. delegation.
On November 15, senior government officials and industry representatives discussed topics including artificial intelligence (AI), data policy, and cyber security. Both countries affirmed the importance of responsible stewardship and trustworthy AI and a human-centric approach. They also highlighted the benefits of the free flow of data across borders. In addition, both countries shared the view that cybersecurity cooperation should be strengthened to continue to enable innovation, development of emerging technologies, and growth of the digital economy.
The United States and the ROK discussed their national initiatives to enable AI innovation, highlighted their joint support for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Recommendation on AI, and affirmed their commitment to continue working together on AI through the OECD and the Global Partnership on AI.
Additionally, the United States and the ROK recognized the value of the private sector’s role at the cutting edge of innovation and emphasized the importance of governments in fostering enabling environments for competitiveness and prosperity to promote digital transformation.
On November 16, senior U.S. and ROK officials detailed priority initiatives of both governments. The Korean side presented the ROK’s Digital New Deal and the development of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) technology for next-generation autonomous driving. The United States presented the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership as well as expanded efforts in the area of securing undersea cables.
Both countries are committed to implementing the May 2021 joint vision of President Biden and President Moon to strengthen the U.S.-ROK partnership on critical and emerging technologies including 5G and 6G and to develop open, transparent, and efficient 5G and 6G network architectures using Open RAN. They highlighted the need for an open, interoperable, and secure telecommunications networks. Furthermore, the United States and the ROK reiterated the value of working together in the development of quantum technologies, talent exchanges, standardization activities, and the expansion of joint research. In particular, both countries pledged to continuously expand joint research carried out in next generation mobile communication including 6G.
The two sides discussed objectives and shared information on their respective priorities and activities related to international conferences and multilateral organizations, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), OECD, G20, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Internet Governance Forum. They recognized the need to work closely together and with the business community to promote international data flows, including through the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules system.
The sixth U.S.-ROK ICT Policy Forum was hosted by MSIT. The ROK delegation included officials representing MSIT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Personal Information Protection Commission, Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA), National Information Society Agency (NIA), Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), and Institute for Information and Communication Technology Promotion (IITP). The U.S. delegation included officials representing the Department of State, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, International Trade Administration, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Agency for International Development, Federal Communications Commission, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense. Leading U.S. industry associations joined as active participants
The seventh U.S.-ROK ICT Policy Forum will be held in Washington, D.C. in 2023.