Threats to Cybersecurity is increasingly sophisticated, transboundary and multi-dimentional. Cyberspace and Cybersecurity are now playing an increasingly important role in international peace and security, including in the ASEAN region. Cyberspace can be used to either strengthen or undermine peace and security of individual countries or of the overall region. For instance, at the regional and international levels, the Internet and social media are now widely used by extremist groups to recruit new followers across borders or even to signal attacks. At the national level, extensive studies revealed how the Internet and social media propaganda are being used to influence, distort or disrupt politics, as well as the peace and conflict management processes, in many countries, including those in the ASEAN region.

ASEAN Leaders see the need for ASEAN Member States to prepare themselves for the future and work closely with one another in working towards a common policy on cybersecurity.

At the 32nd ASEAN Summit in April 2018, the ASEAN Leaders issued their first-ever statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation. In the Statement, the ASEAN Leaders reaffirmed the need to build closer cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States on cybersecurity policy development and capacity building initiatives, including through the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme, the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) and the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre, towards the promotion of voluntary and non-binding cyber norms, as well as the development of a peaceful, secure and resilient rules-based cyberspace that will contribute to continued economic progress, enhanced regional connectivity within and improved living standards across ASEAN.

Thailand attaches great importance to advancing cooperation within ASEAN and with external partners to address non-traditional security challenges. Most recently, on Cybersecurity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand, together with the government of Australia, co-hosted the ASEAN-Australia Cybersecurity Workshop entitled “Strengthening Legal Implementation in Tackling Cybersecurity Challenges in the Region” in Bangkok, on 13 February 2018, in order to promote the monitoring and tackling of cyber threats and enhancing coordination between cybersecurity-related agencies.

For this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand are holding an International Conference entitled “Cybersecurity: Implications on Peace and Security in the ASEAN Region” in Bangkok, on 10-11 May 2019. The Conference is in line with the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation which tasks relevant Ministers from all ASEAN Member States to closely consider and submit recommendations on feasible options of coordinating cybersecurity policy, diplomacy, cooperation, technical and capacity building efforts among various platforms of the three pillars of ASEAN, while recognizing the value of enhanced dialogue and cooperation on cybersecurity issues with Dialogue Partners and other External Parties. More importantly, the Conference is also in line with the activities agreed in the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint which attaches importance to addressing issues of cybercrime and cybersecurity.

Full document of the Concept Paper of the Conference can be downloaded here.