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[Seoul Defense Dialogue] “SDD is seeking a way to take the leap forward that will enable a multilateral global defense dialogue”...

Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) 2021 broadcast via video link

Space security environment paradigm shiftnecessary to establish international rules

Plan for active cooperation between the Asia-Pacific states and the private sector to be discussed 

Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) 2021 broadcast via vi 


On September 9, the second day of the Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) 2021, which is a multilateral dialogue among vice ministers of defense for cooperation on peace on the Korean Peninsula and security in the Asia-Pacific region, a series of discussions on a plan for international security cooperation were held by high-level defense officials and civilian security experts from countries around the world at the SDD venue, Hotel Grand Hyatt Seoul in Yongsan, Seoul. The overseas panels took part in the SDD via video link due to the COVID-19 situation, but the discussion became as heated as previous face-to-face international meetings nonetheless.


Following the opening ceremony, which consisted of an opening address from Minster of National Defense Suh Wook, a congratulatory message from European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, and a keynote address from United Kingdom (UK) foreign affairs minister Dominic Raab, ‘Plenary Session 1’ marked the beginning of the SDD.


Hosted by Jeon Jae-seong, professor of the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at the Seoul National University, under the theme ‘Advancing the Korean Peninsula peace process and role of arms control,’ Plenary Session 1 was attended by Vice Minister Park Jae-min and experts from countries around the world, including professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies John Delury, Minister of State for Defense of the United Kingdom Baroness Goldie, deputy director of the International Cooperation Bureau of the State for Defense of Russia Evgeniy Ilin, professor at the School of International Studies at the Beijing University Jia Qingguo, high representative for the UN Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu, and professor at the Department of Social Science, International Relations and Laws at Syracuse University James Steinberg.


During the session, the participants assessed the current security environment on the Korean Peninsula, and analyzed the role of sanctions in pushing a peace process on the peninsula forward, as well as tasks for making progress in the peace process. Significantly, they discussed ways the two Koreas can establish peace by completing denuclearization and establishing a peace regime on the peninsula, pushing forward inter-Korean arms control in a comprehensive manner, and giving impetus to one another. They also discussed the roles of neighboring countries and a plan for cooperation with the international community in order to create a sustainable peace on the peninsula.


Following the session, the ‘Special Talks’ were hosted by president of the Sejong Institute Moon Jeong-in. Moon had a heated discussion with Gareth Evans, honorary professor at the Australian National University on the ‘10th Anniversary of SDD: Prospects of the performance of multilateral cooperation.’ They both expressed their appreciation of the fact that for the past ten years the SDD has functioned as a forum for practical security discussions and cooperation among security experts invited from Northeast Asia and beyond, as well as for sharing the pending issues on security in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean Peninsula, and seeking ways to improve multilateral cooperation.


The SDD also clarified the need to seek ways in which it can expand beyond a regional multilateral security dialogue into a global multilateral security dialogue, as it has already achieved a firm position as a multilateral security dialogue contributing to strengthening international peace and security, by expanding the range of discussions to non-traditional security issues, such as disaster response, cyber security, terrorism, and energy security.


In this era in which space is coming to the fore as a new site for the arms race, ‘Special Session 3,’ with the theme ‘International security cooperation for the peaceful use of space’ also drew attention.


Hosted by the chief of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute policy team Jeong Young-jin, the session was attended by various experts in the field of space, including professor of international law at the University of Paris XI Philip Akilias, special space envoy at the EU Foreign Relations Agency Karin Clais, director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research Robin Geiss, professor of international law at Georgetown University David A. Cafrow, and president of the International Institute of Space Law Kai-Uwe Schrogl.


The participants in the dialogue shared the assessment that the space security environment is facing a paradigm shift, as even private companies and middle powers, as well as conventional space powers, have begun to join in space competition, and the competition for space security is deepening in terms of geopolitics and geoeconomics.


They also pointed out the emergence of a space garbage issue, citing the fact that even private companies had begun to join in what has historically been an area monopolized by governments, as well as the fact that the need to ensure the peaceful use of space is coming to the fore, as each country works to expand space to a main area for military operations by pushing for the development of space weapons.


Even though such issues have begun to emerge as serious threats to the safety, security and sustainability of space activities, the current space law system sanctioning space activities is not sufficiently effective. In this regard, the participants also clarified that cooperative discussions among the regions and groups with a similar stance, as well as UN-centered multilateral discussions, should be activated to contribute to the establishment of an international rule for space security.


They also agreed on the need to discuss a plan for active cooperation between the Asia-Pacific states, which have come to the fore as a new area of space competition, and the private sector. 

임채무 By Chae-Mu, Im < >

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