[RECAP] The Normative Enactment of International Cybersecurity Capacity Building Assistance: A Comparative Analysis on Japanese and South Korean Practices

Last Thursday (30/08), the Institute of International Studies, Gadjah Mada University (IIS UGM), successfully held the fifth edition of Diskusi Cangkir Teh entitled “Normative Aspects in International Cybersecurity Capacity Assistance: The Experiences of Japan and South Korea.” On this occasion, IIS UGM invited Azza Bimantara, an alumnus of International Relations major, Gadjah Mada University, who had just finished his postgraduate study at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Acting as the moderator, IIS UGM welcomed Nabilah Nur Abiyanti, one of the research staff at IIS UGM, to accompany Azza in the discussion.

The discussion’s theme is an extended elaboration of Azza’s thesis under the title “The Normative Enactment of International Cybersecurity Capacity Building Assistance: A Comparative Analysis on Japanese and South Korean Practices.” Accordingly, in his presentation, Azza compared the international cybersecurity capacity-building assistance of Japan and South Korea.

The discussion was kicked off by Azza’s explanation of the background and significance of Cybersecurity Capacity Building Assistance (CCB), which caused particular problems, such as the inability to benefit from the technological advances and the vulnerability of digital threats, especially for developing countries with a low internet penetration level. Furthermore, a curious question emerged: how does the disparity of normative emphasis by donor countries affect the many programs or CCB projects organized by the recipient countries? Through the hybrid state-centric and international-centric approach, Azza picked Japan and South Korea as the samples of donor countries under his scrutiny.

On the one hand, Azza found that Japan’s normative structure in terms of international cybersecurity cooperation is tilted heavily to the security aspect. As an implication, under the global cybersecurity management, Japan obtained its renowned role and identity as a donor who prioritizes normative and material interests which lend themselves to security concerns. Such position and identity manifested itself on Japan’s international CCB assistance that concerns security aspects.

On the other hand, South Korea’s international cybersecurity structure emphasizes the development aspect as an implementation of South Korea’s favourable reputation in international development. Consequently, South Korea underscored material and normative interests dominated by development aspects and non-security orientation as the foundation of her international CCB.

In his closing remarks, Azza concluded that the comparative analysis between Japan and South Korea through the lens of hybrid state-centric and international-centric approaches, as elaborated in his research methodology, enables the fragmentation of global cyber norms due to the different processes and perceptions constructed by states all over the world.

Following the presentation session by Azza, the event carried on with a productive and conducive Q&A session with the audiences.

Writer : Raditya Bomantara

Editor : Publication Team IIS

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