PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
Geneva, 13 May 2014
Statement by Ambassador AHN Youngjip
Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to you for chairing this important meeting. I would also like to thank your team and the Secretariat for their excellent work in organizing this meeting.
With rapid technological developments, we are now witnessing an ever-increasing level of autonomy of weapons systems. Hence, I feel that this is a most opportune moment for us to consider what effects lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWs) may have on future armed conflicts, and assess challenges posed to international humanitarian law. In particular, I am encouraged that we are discussing the issue of LAWs in a focused manner for the first time within the framework of the CCW, to which almost all countries possessing significant robot technology are States Parties
As agreed to at last year's Meeting of States Parties, the important agenda of this meeting is how to address the questions related to emerging technologies in the area of LAWs. By definition, such systems exclude weapons systems that select and attack targets solely under remote control by a human operator. Since we are at the initial stages of assessing this topic, I believe that it would be necessary for us to base our discussions on accurate and objective review of the relevant technology. It is also important for us to reach common understanding on the relevant terminology which is both complex and less familiar to many members of the disarmament community. At the same time, I believe that discussions on LAWs should not be carried out in a way that would lead to contribute or cause restrictions on the development and manufacture of non-lethal robots, in particular industrial robots used for peaceful purposes.
The Republic of Korea is moving forward with efforts to enhance the use of robots in various industries. In the military area, we are considering the utilization of robot technology to better protect soldiers exposed to serious risks. For instance, robots would be used to clear mines, remove improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and detect CBRN.
However, I would also like to emphasize that the Republic of Korea continues to pay due attention to ethical considerations surrounding the use of robot systems for civil and military purposes. Korea is working to enact an ethics charter on the commercial service of robotic technology in accordance with the National Plan on Intelligent Robots. I expect the charter to contain provisions on ethical values and the code of conduct regarding the development, manufacture and use of robots.
I am confident that this meeting will provide an opportunity for comprehensive and in-depth review of the main elements of LAWs. Moreover, it is important that our discussions lay the basic groundwork for any decision on next step on this topic at the Meeting of States Parties in November. I look forward to a constructive and fruitful meeting this week, and assure you of my delegation’s full participation and engagement.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.