South Korea and the United States signed an arrangement Friday on the creation of their first joint cybersecurity guidance aimed at ensuring smooth combined military operations, Seoul's defense ministry said.
The signing came as they are stepping up security coordination against persistent threats from North Korea that further ratcheted up tensions this week with its failed yet defiant launch of a space rocket.
Brig. Gen. Ryu Seung-ha of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff and Col. Erick O. Welcome of the US Forces Korea inked the statement of adherence on the guidance at the JCS headquarters in Seoul.
The guidance is designed to ensure a smooth linkage between the allies' combined command control mechanisms -- South Korea's Allied Korea Joint Command and Control System and the US' Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System-Korea.
Absent such a guidance in the past, the two sides had to write a memorandum of understanding to link the two systems for certain data. The guidance, however, stipulates specific cybersecurity standards and procedures to enable the linkage between the systems in a more secure and stable manner.
The allies viewed the arrangement as a "big step" to cement the foundation for cybersecurity cooperation between the defense authorities of the two countries, according to the ministry.
"We expect this to contribute greatly to expanding the South Korea-US alliance to the cybersecurity domain," it said. (Yonhap)