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S. Korea, U.S. mull regular cyber warfare drills

Senior military officials of U.S. and S. Korea coordinate the cyber warfare drill agenda at the defense ministerial meeting (Yonhap News)
Senior military officials of U.S. and S. Korea coordinate the cyber warfare drill agenda at the defense ministerial meeting (Yonhap News)

South Korea and the United States are pushing to hold regular joint exercises and train professionals to guard against growing threats of cyber attack from North Korea, a senior Seoul official said Wednesday.

Concerns over cyber attacks on military infrastructure and government and communications systems have mounted as Seoul believes Pyongyang was behind the jamming of GPS signals on civilian flights and commercial ships earlier this year and the hacking of government Web sites and banking systems in the last couple of years.

In defense talks that run from Wednesday through Thursday, senior military officials of the two sides will coordinate the agenda for next month‘s defense ministerial meeting and formulate concrete steps to deal with threats of cyber attacks and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, a Korean official said.

"Joint training for cyber warfare and the training of professionals can be discussed as a means to prepare against cyber threats," a senior official said, asking for anonymity as the talks were still under way. "We will also discuss measures that can actually counter (North Korea‘s) nuclear threat, not just talk about the U.S. nuclear umbrella."

During the two-day meeting, the allies will discuss ways to operate a working group to craft concrete measures to launch regular anti-cyber warfare operations and programs to train professionals and also cooperate in the aerospace industry, he noted.

As a pre-step to bolster cyber defenses, military forces of the two nations conducted basic cyber warfare operations for the first time during last month’s annual war exercise, according to military sources.

The meeting comes as the defense ministers of both countries are expected to meet at the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in late October to discuss ways to handle North Korea‘s nuclear program and major alliance issues when Seoul retakes wartime operational control of its troops from the U.S. in 2014.

The Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) is an overarching structure that includes a series of alliance-related meetings such as the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee, the Strategic Alliance 2015 Working Group and the Security Policy Initiative. The two allies held the inaugural such meeting in April in Washington.

The two Koreas remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice. About 28,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed here to deter against the North Korean threat. (Yonhap News)



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한미, 北 사이버 공격 “함께 막는다”


한국과 미국 국방부는 점증하는 사이버전 위협에 대응해 정기적으로 공동훈련을 하는 방안을 협의 중인 것으로 알려졌다.

양국 국방부는 12일 서울에서 제2차 한미통합국방협의체(KIDD) 본회의를 열어 사이버전 위협 대응과 북한 핵 억제를 위한 실효적 방안 등을 협의했다.

국방부 고위 관계자는 이날 “이번 회의에서는 작년 한미안보협의회(SCM)에서 합의한 사이버 위협 대응 수단을 구체화하는 방안을 협의할 것”이라며 “사이버전 대응 공동훈련 및 전문 인력 교육 등의 방안이 있을 것”이라고 밝혔다.

양국은 사이버전 공동훈련과 전문 인력 교육, 우주분야 협력 등의 방안을 구체적으로 협의할 실무협의체를 조만간 가동할 것으로 알려졌다.

한미 군당국은 지난달 실시된 을지프리덤가디언(UFG) 연습 때 처음으로 북한의 사이버 위협에 대응한 기초적인 공동 연습을 한 것으로 전해졌다.

이에 앞서 양국은 작년 10월 미국에서 열린 SCM에서 우주 및 사이버 공간의 보호와 접근에 관한 협력을 강화하기로 합의한 바 있다.
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