Advertisement

U.S. bans military use of anti-personnel land mines everywhere except South Korea

1/4
U.S. bans military use of anti-personnel land mines everywhere except South Korea
Under the new policy, the U.S. military cannot develop, produce, export or acquire land mines except when necessary for activities related to mine detection or removal, and for the purpose of destruction. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden's administration announced on Tuesday a change in U.S. military policy that bans the use of anti-personnel land mines everywhere in the world, except for the Korean Peninsula.

The White House announced the change, which bars the use of anti-personnel mines -- those that are specifically intended to deter or kill or injure enemy troops -- due to the risk they pose to civilians for decades long after the fighting ends.

Advertisement

The only exception to the ban is in South Korea, where Seoul's military has mine fields to deter a North Korean invasion. The U.S. military doesn't have any anti-personnel mines in South Korea, but it supports Seoul's deployment of mines at certain locations along the border with the North to dissuade an attack.

The change, which follows a year-long review by Biden's administration, reverses the more lenient land-mine policy under former President Donald Trump, and returns to the policy enacted by former President Barack Obama.

RELATED London flat where Princess Diana lived receives blue plaque

The South Korea exception is the only provision keeping the United States from full compliance with the Ottawa Convention, a 1997 global treaty that prohibits deploying, storing, producing and transferring land mines.

Advertisement

Under the new policy, the U.S. military cannot develop, produce, export or acquire land mines except when necessary for activities related to mine detection or removal, and for the purpose of destruction.

An Afghan boy who was wounded by a land mine is seen at the International Red Cross Orthopedic rehabilitation center in Herat, Afghanistan. It's estimated that mines kill or injure hundreds of people each year. File Photo by Hossein Fatemi/UPI

The U.S. military has a stockpile of about 3 million land mines. Those that aren't needed to help protect South Korea will be destroyed.

RELATED Islamic State affiliate kills 10 at mine-clearing camp

"These changes reflect the president's belief that these weapons have a disproportionate impact on civilians, including children, long after the fighting has stopped, and that we need to curtail the use of [anti-personnel mines] worldwide," the White House said in a statement.

"They also complement longstanding U.S. leadership in the clearance of landmines and other explosive remnants of war."

Since the Humanitarian Mine Action Program started in 1993, the United States has given more than $4.2 billion in aid to more than 100 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs. It has helped many of those countries become mine-free and provided rehabilitation services to more than 250,000 people, the White House said.

Advertisement

Russia's military has been using anti-personnel mines in Ukraine since the fighting began in February.

"The world has once again witnessed the devastating impact that anti-personnel landmines can have in the context of Russia's brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine, where Russian forces' use of these and other munitions have caused extensive harm to civilians and civilian objects," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement Tuesday.

"We will continue this important work as we take another step to reclaim American leadership on the world stage."

War in Ukraine: Scenes from Kharkiv

A woman eats food given to her by volunteers at a food delivery station run by a Hare Krishna group in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement