The white house announced on Tuesday that the use of landmines by the US military was to be more heavily restricted in an effort to bring ourselves back into lockstep with the global policy and sentiment about the ordinance.
National security spokesperson, John Kirby, said at a White House briefing, “The president believes strongly that we need to curtail their use worldwide.”
Anti-personnel land mines are buried underground or scattered on the surface, and they can pose a lethal threat to civilians long after combat has ended. Russia has reportedly used the explosives during its invasion of Ukraine.https://t.co/ifseBf6qWO
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) June 22, 2022
This restriction directly reverses former President Donald Trump’s less restrictive policy on landmines and reflects a year long review on the matter. The State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security, Bonnie Jenkins said that Biden’s reversal of Trump’s landmine policy fulfills “a commitment that President Biden made as a candidate.”
Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy said that this announcement was a “long overdue recognition that the grave humanitarian and political costs of using these weapons far exceed their limited military utility.”
Leahy said in a statement, “As welcome as this step is, the White House needs to put the U.S. on a definitive path to join the treaties banning anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. Neither of these indiscriminate weapons, the horrific consequences of which we are seeing in Ukraine today, belong in the arsenals of civilized nations.”
Unless they’re using them against North Korea
Following the announcement, the US will only use landmines in South Korea in defense against an invasion from the north. While the US has not yet deployed landmines in either North or South Korea, the promise has been made to support South Korea in its defenses against aggressions from its northern neighbor which includes the use of landmines.
Currently the US has 3 million landmines stockpiled. This new policy will require all mines not allocated for South Korea’s defense to be destroyed.
The Korean Peninsula exception to the United States’ landmine policy was emplaced during the Obama administration. This caveat is the only discrepancy preventing full compliance of the 1997 treaty from the Ottawa Convention which banned the use of landmines globally.