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S. Korea to hold rotating presidency of UN Security Council next month

May 24, 2024 - 09:17 By Yonhap
South Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Hwang Joon-kook speaks during a press meeting in New York on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korea will undertake the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council next month for the first time in a decade, Seoul's top envoy to the UN said Thursday, unveiling plans to push for in-depth discussions on cybersecurity and other global issues.

In a press meeting, Ambassador Hwang Joon-kook said that South Korea, a nonpermanent UNSC member, will hold the presidency for one month -- a position that rotates among the council's 15 member states on a monthly basis. Seoul last held the UNSC presidency in May 2014.

Portraying the presidency as an "important" role in coordinating the UNSC agenda, Hwang said that in the position, South Korea will be ready to convene a UNSC meeting in the event of North Korean provocations if necessary.

"The country holding the presidency gets the primary authority to make decisions on what agenda the UNSC will discuss and in which way (discussions are conducted) through consultations with member states," Hwang told reporters.

"Thus, its role is important given that it can affect the direction of discussions on key global issues and international opinion," he added.

The ambassador said that during its presidency, South Korea will seek to hold high-level public discussions on cybersecurity -- a subject that Seoul has focused on due to evolving North Korean threats in the security domain. Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul plans to preside over the session.

"Malicious cyberactivities, including cyberattacks on key infrastructure and thefts of civilian data and virtual assets, have the transnational nature," Hwang said. "This is a security threat facing all nations regardless of whether it's a developed country or developing country, a Western country or non-Western nation, or a democracy or an authoritarian state."

Despite the importance of cybsersecurity, the issue has not been dealt with as part of the official UNSC agenda nor has it been regularly discussed at the council, Hwang noted.

Seoul's push for cybersecurity discussions came amid mounting claims that Pyongyang has been increasingly reliant on cyber tools to evade international sanctions and generate revenue to help fund its nuclear and weapons of mass destruction programs.

During its presidency, South Korea will also seek to hold public discussions on the theme of "child and armed conflicts" at the request of the UN Secretariat.

"We are seeking the participation of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on behalf of 'The Elders,'" Hwang said, referring to an international group of public figures, including peace activists and human rights advocates.

The ambassador voiced hope that South Korea's upcoming presidency at the council will contribute to the country's efforts to expand its diplomatic horizons and emerge as a "global pivotal state," a term highlighting the Asian country's desire for greater contributions to the world. (Yonhap)