Beijing [China], May 10 (ANI): South Korea joined NATO's cyber defence group on May 5, becoming the second East Asian country after Japan to join the group.
This move comes as South Korea has always been a frequent target of North Korean cyberattacks.
A particularly noteworthy attack happened last year when North Korea hacked into the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), South Korea's nuclear research institute. This attack raised the possibility of South Korean nuclear secrets being leaked to North Korea, media reports stated.
According to Asian Times, China has allegedly provided North Korean cyber units with training, technology and cover for their cyber espionage and financial theft operations. Moreover, according to the Korea Institute of Liberal Democracy in Seoul, an elite unit of 6,800 North Korean agents are engaged in fraud, blackmail and online gambling, which brings in USD 860 million annually, with many of their operations traceable to China.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea's top spy agency, said it had been admitted as a "contributing participant" to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia.
"Cyberthreats are causing great damage to not only individuals but also separate nations and also transnationally, so close international cooperation is crucial," the NIS said in a further statement explaining South Korea's rationale for joining the CCDOE.
South Korea has been trying to join the CCDCOE since 2019, hoping to learn more about threat response strategies and ways to protect key infrastructure, with the broad aim of having world-class abilities to respond to those threats.
While China has not issued an official statement about South Korea's decision to join the CCDCOE, it would view this move negatively.
In an opinion piece in the state-run Global Times newspaper, China pointed out that the US-led NATO is turning South Korea into a pawn against China and Russia in cyber defence.
If Korea-China relations are to be talked about, Moreover, the Chinese and Koreans have earlier engaged themselves in a digital war over the origins of delicacies, dress and even acupuncture as well during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)