In theory, China accepts
that the principles enshrined within the UN Charter, including sovereign equality, prohibition on the use of force, settlement of disputes by peaceful means, non-intervention in the affairs of other states and fulfilment of international obligations in good faith, apply in cyberspace.
Nevertheless, the Chinese position is generally characterized by a reluctance
to crystallise the precise ways in which existing customary and international treaty law might govern the cyber domain; the exact application of specific aspects of international law, such as laws on self-defence, state responsibility, and international humanitarian law, is claimed to remain unclear in the absence of international consensus.
Chinese delegations have also repeatedly cautioned against the “indiscriminate application of the law of armed conflicts”
, arguing that the undue emphasis on jus ad bellum
undermines stability in cyberspace by presupposing and thus effectively legitimising cyber conflict, consequently turning cyberspace into a “new battlefield”.
China regards proposals on regional exchanges of views and development of common understanding on the application of international law with particular scepticism, stating
that states must work on reaching “universally-accepted consensus” on the application of international law, rather than engage in “self-explanations at regional levels or among a small group of countries”. The Chinese have also consistently favoured
the adoption of new international legal instruments tailored to the attributes of cyberspace (lex specialis
As a member of the 2015 Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) and as per the Seoul Framework for and Commitment to an Open and Secure Cyberspace
, the ROK recognises
that international law, and in particular the UN Charter, is applicable in cyberspace and essential for maintaining security and stability as well as promoting an open, secure, peaceful, and accessible ICT environment.
The country also acknowledges
that cybersecurity must go hand-in-hand with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. The ROK notably co-sponsored the Human Rights Council Resolutions 20/8
concerning the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet.
The country supports
the idea of increasing interstate engagement and exchanging national views on how international law applies in cyberspace, both at the multilateral level as well as at the bilateral and regional levels.