The ICAS Lectures


America's CyberSecurity in the Wake of North Korea's Sony Hack

Patrick Meehan

ICAS Winter Symposium

February 26, 2015, 2:15 PM - 5:15 PM
Rayburn House Office Building Room #2456
Capitol Hill Washington DC

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Patrick Meehan

America's CyberSecurity in the Wake of North Korea's Sony Hack

Patrick Meehan
United States Congressman
February 26, 2015

Today, there are nearly two million Koreans and Korean-Americans living and working in the United States. Increasingly, Americans are living and investing in Korea as a gateway to the dynamic and rapidly-expanding Asian-Pacific economy. Korea is the world's thirteenth biggest economy and American trade with South Korea tops $100 billion annually, making it our seventh largest trading partner. It is for these reasons that I made a recent visit to Seoul a critical stop on a congressional mission to fortify ties between our nations and renew confidence in America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific region's prosperity and security.

The bipartisan delegation included 9 members of the United States Congress led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. It preceded by only a few days a visit of the President of the United States to the same region.

Collectively, these trips signal the importance our government places on its ties to the Korean people and our belief that future economic growth for the United States will be enhanced by strengthened ties to the Pacific region. This will mean jobs at home and new opportunities for American products and services abroad.

Our visit was designed to engage South Korean political and military leaders in discussions about trade and security and to underscore America's role as a nation that leads. The dialogue was frank and productive and left no question that South Korea and the United States see their ties to each other not just as central to the prosperity and safety of the region but critical to our joint economic interests.

We sat for more than an hour with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House, whose gentle but focused demeanor allowed us to exchange thoughts freely and honestly. From the start, our expressions were of condolence to the families of those who lost loved ones in the tragic capsizing of the ferry boat Sewol as it traveled toward Jeju with more than 470 aboard, so many of them young students. It was clear all of Korea is saddened and the President graciously conveyed how deeply the loss of lives touched her people.

There are two prevailing themes that emerged from our discussions: economic prosperity and security. Each is critical to the future of both our nations and both underscore the importance of our joint partnership.

Of paramount concern is the increasingly unpredictable and potentially unstable North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un. The March 26th launch of two mid-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan has significantly heightened regional tensions. Little is known about the intentions of Kim Jong Un and his nuclear ambitions. He has consistently failed to live up to agreements negotiated through the P5+1 meetings and instead invited global concern by increasing activity around his missile programs.

This is not just an Asian concern, but an American concern as well, as these capabilities threaten Hawaii and the North American continent itself. But the North Korean state is not just a threat to other nations - it is a tyrannical dictatorship whose sixty years of rule have left its people starving, oppressed, in abject poverty and cut off from the rest of the world.

This page last updated May 5, 2016 jdb