President Joe Biden has committed to curtailing the use of landmines worldwide. This policy change reflects the President’s belief that these weapons have a disproportionate impact on civilians, including children, long after fighting has stopped.
The new commitment will align U.S landmine policy outside of the Korean Peninsula with the key requirements of the Ottawa Convention – the international treaty prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. The unique circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and the U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea preclude the United States from changing anti-personnel landmine policy on the Korean Peninsula at this time.
The United States will not develop, produce, or acquire anti-personnel landmines, nor export or transfer anti-personnel landmines except when necessary for activities related to mine destruction or removal and for the purpose of destruction. The U.S. will not use anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean Peninsula, nor assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the context of the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity that would be prohibited by the Ottawa Convention. The United States will seek to destroy anti-personnel landmines and their stockpiles not required for the defense of the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. will continue to pursue materiel and operational solutions that would allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention, while at the same time ensure the United States’ ability to meet its alliance commitments.
“The United States’ actions are in a sharp contrast to Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Stan Brown. In Ukraine, “there is compelling evidence that Russian forces are using explosive munitions, including landmines, in an irresponsible manner which is causing extensive harm to civilians and damage to vital civilian infrastructure there.”
The United States is proud to lead the world in conventional weapons destruction. “We’ve invested more than 4.2 billion dollars in more than 100 countries since 1993 to promote international peace and security through our conventional weapons destruction programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Brown. “We’ll continue this important work and remain committed to continuing partnerships to address the humanitarian impacts of anti-personnel landmines.”