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South Korea, France to deepen space, cyber, AI co-operation

South Korea and France have agreed to strengthen defence collaboration in space, cyber, and artificial intelligence (AI), with the two countries trying to identify a “prospective agenda for viable co-operation”, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul told Janes.

A meeting held in February 2022 in Paris between South Korean Defence Minister Suh Wook and his French counterpart Florence Parly provided an impetus to the two countries' plans for defence co-operation.

The two countries' defence ministries are collaborating to organise “an inaugural working-level consultative meeting on defence in the space domain” in the early half of 2022, the spokesperson said.

The meeting “will identify tangent points of co-operation between the two countries” and work on “gradually developing more specific plans” to propel such co-operation, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson also said that South Korea and France will participate in upcoming international initiatives on AI – such as the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and the AI Forum held by the United States' Joint AI Center (JAIC) – “to explore a prospective agenda for bilateral co-operation”.

According to the spokesperson, South Korea and France have earlier co-operated on cyber security within the ambits of multilateral and international organisations such as the NATO or the United Nations (UN). For example, the spokesperson highlighted South Korea's participation as an observer in the NATO cyber defence exercise ‘Locked Shields' held in Estonia in 2017.

The two countries were also among UN member nations that proposed the establishment of a ‘programme of action' for advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in 2020.

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