Cyber Stability, Conflict Prevention and Capacity Building

Australia and the Republic of Korea sign new MoU on Cyber and Critical Technology Cooperation

On 13 September 2021, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Chung Eui-yong signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber and Critical Technology Cooperation, on behalf of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The MoU elevates existing cooperation and formalises a regular bilateral Cyber and Critical Technology Policy Dialogue, building on the earlier Cyber Policy Dialogue.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

BETWEEN

THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE OF AUSTRALIA

AND

THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

ON CYBER AND CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of Korea (hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Participants” and singularly as a “Participant”);

Recognising the depth and strength of the economic and strategic relationship between Australia and the Republic of Korea;

Sharing the vision to formalise an enhanced bilateral partnership on cyber affairs and critical technology, at a time when both countries face significant challenges and opportunities in the international environment;

Desiring to promote an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful cyberspace, which drives economic prosperity, protects national security and promotes international stability;

Reaffirming their commitment to promote peace and security in cyberspace based on existing international law, voluntary and non-binding norms of responsible state behaviour, practical confidence building measures, and cooperative capacity building;

Recognising the benefits of close collaboration, including on information sharing, developing technical standards, implementing law and norms, protecting existing commitments in multilateral and regional forums, the development and deployment of cyber and critical technologies in the region, and regional awareness and capacity building; and

Pursuant to the relevant laws and regulations and the international commitments of the two countries;

Have reached the following understanding:
 

Paragraph 1

Purpose

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (hereinafter referred to as the “Memorandum”) is to formalise mechanisms for cooperation and identify key areas of cooperation to provide a framework for the Participants to develop an elevated partnership in the region on cyber and critical technology.

 

Paragraph 2

Scope

1) This Memorandum will allow the Participants to freely cooperate on the policy response to any technologies related to the areas below as determined via mutual consent, irrespective of the Participants’ respective national definitions of “cyber and critical technology”, without creating any legally binding obligations, nor altering or affecting any existing agreements between the Participants.

 

2) For the purposes of the cooperation under this Memorandum, the Participants define “critical technology” as current and emerging technologies with the capacity to significantly enhance, or pose risks to, the two countries’ prosperity, social cohesion and national security, including, but not limited to, next generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.  

 

3) The Participants will cooperate in the following areas:

 

  1. Enhance information sharing on cyber and critical technology issues:

    sharing information on legislation, national cyber and critical technology strategies, policies, and threat assessments.
     

  2. Drive shared economic prosperity and security by shaping the design, development and  use of secure cyber and critical technology:
     
    1. establishing and developing links between government, the private sector and academia that advance research and development and policy understanding to the Participants’ mutual benefit; and
       
    1. identifying opportunities for engagement with the technology industry to ensure the design, deployment and use of secure, resilient technology in the region, including, but not limited to, smart cities, future connectivity, supply chains and technology infrastructure.

 

  1. Elevate multilateral coordination on norms and standards:
     
    1. working together to deepen understanding of the application of international law and norms in cyberspace, as well as supporting the development and operationalisation of practical confidence building measures in Southeast Asia to reduce the risk of inter-state conflict arising from significant cyber incidents; 
       
    1. coordinating efforts on cyber and critical technology standards in multilateral and multi-stakeholder forums, including identifying opportunities to encourage and assist other countries in the region to participate and engage in these discussions;
       
    1. cooperating to support effective co-chairing arrangements for the ASEAN Regional Forum’s ICT Security work stream; and
       
    1. working together to enhance international cooperation to combat the evolving challenges of cybercrime, including cementing international commitments and positively influencing negotiation of a UN cybercrime convention.

 

  1. Stimulate bilateral cooperation to raise awareness and build capacity across the region:

    sharing information about their respective awareness and capacity-building initiatives in the region and identifying practical ways to avoid duplication and coordinate efforts to build regional capacity.

 

Paragraph 3

Mechanisms for Cooperation

The Participants will use the following mechanisms to implement the provisions of this Memorandum:

a) The Australia-Republic of Korea Cyber and Critical Technology Policy Dialogue

  1. The Participants will convene regular meetings of senior officials (the Cyber and Critical Technology Policy Dialogue – hereafter the “Dialogue”) to exchange information, identify practical initiatives and review cooperation under this Memorandum.
  2. The Dialogue will be co-chaired by representatives of the Participants.
  3. The Dialogue will include senior officials from relevant government departments and agencies, as determined by mutual consent of the Participants.
  4. The Dialogue will be convened annually in-person, or as mutually convenient for the Participants.
  5. The Participants will consult each other on the agenda of the Dialogue, and the mutually determined agenda will be communicated through diplomatic channels, including the date and place of the Dialogue.

b) Joint Working Groups

The Participants have the option of convening additional working-level meetings to advance specific topics under this Memorandum, by mutual consent.

 

c) Foreign Ministerial Meetings

The Participants have the option of convening meetings of their Foreign Ministers to review the existing cooperation and identify new initiatives under this Memorandum, by mutual consent.

 

Paragraph 4

Focal Points

The Participants have identified the following focal points for the purpose of the implementation of this Memorandum, who will coordinate as needed across the relevant government agencies:

  1. for DFAT: the Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs & Critical Technology;
  2. for the MOFA: the Korean Ambassador for International Security Affairs.

 

Paragraph 5

Implementing Arrangements

  1. Arrangements mutually determined by the Participants will serve to implement cooperation under this Memorandum.
  2. The establishment, finalisation, and implementation of the arrangements under this Memorandum will be coordinated by the respective focal points as stipulated in Paragraph 4 of this Memorandum.

 

Paragraph 6

Financial Arrangements

  1. Each Participant will bear its own costs associated with the activities and participation under this Memorandum.
  2. This Memorandum will be subject to the availability of appropriate funds and personnel of the Participants.
  3. Other financial arrangements may be mutually determined by the Participants.

 

Paragraph 7

Resolution of Differences

  1. Any difference arising out of the interpretation or implementation of this Memorandum will be resolved amicably through mutual consultations and negotiations between the Participants through diplomatic channels.
  2. Differences will not be referred to any third party, court or international tribunal.

 

 

Paragraph 8

Confidentiality

  1. Each Participant will protect the confidentiality of information exchanged under this Memorandum against unauthorised disclosure and in accordance with the Participant’s national laws, regulations, policies, or directives. However, this will not apply to cases where the information is publicly available.
  2. Where classified or operationally sensitive information, or information pertinent to national security, is to be disclosed under this Memorandum, the Participant providing the information is responsible for ensuring that guidance is provided to the receiving Participant on handling and protection requirements. Each Participant will endeavour to follow such guidance, and respect requests made on handling and protection requirements regarding the security or sensitivity of the material.
  3. The Participants have mutually decided that this paragraph will continue to apply notwithstanding the expiration or termination of this Memorandum.

 

Paragraph 9

Amendment

Either Participant may propose an amendment to this Memorandum by submitting it in writing to the other Participant.  An amendment will be effected only upon the mutual written consent of the Participants.

 

Paragraph 10

Legal Status of the Memorandum

  1. This Memorandum does not create any legally binding obligations and does not alter or effect any existing agreements between the Participants.
  2. The Participants acknowledge that this Memorandum is not an international agreement and will not create legal obligations governed by their respective domestic law or international law.
  3. The provisions of this Memorandum operate subject to, and do not supersede, the respective international obligations and domestic laws, policies, and procedures of the two countries.

 

Paragraph 11

Entry Into Effect, Duration, and Termination

  1. This Memorandum will come into effect on the date of signature by both Participants and will remain in effect for a period of five (5) years, unless terminated by either Participant giving at least one (1) month’s prior written notice of the intended date of termination to the other Participant.
  2. The termination of this Memorandum will not affect the implementation of any ongoing activities or activities that were decided upon prior to the date of termination, unless otherwise jointly decided by the Participants.
  3. This Memorandum may be extended at any time within the period it remains in effect by mutual written consent of the Participants.
  4. Any intent to terminate or extend this Memorandum will be communicated through diplomatic channels.

 

Signed in duplicate at Seoul on 13 September 2021 in English.

                                       

 

 

For the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia

       For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marise Payne

Minister for Foreign Affairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Chung Eui-yong

       Minister of Foreign Affairs