rainn.png
Thursday July 7th, 2022 5:48AM

Most land mine use by US military banned, except for Korea

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's administration announced Tuesday that it would restrict the use of anti-personnel land mines by the U.S. military, aligning the country's policy more closely with an international treaty banning the deadly explosives.

“The president believes strongly that we need to curtail their use worldwide,” John Kirby, a national security spokesman, said at a White House briefing.

The United States has not extensively deployed the mines since the Gulf War in 1991. But the announcement represents a shift from a more permissive stance under then-President Donald Trump, and it concludes a review that has lasted for more than a year.

Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department's undersecretary for arms control and international security, said the new policy fulfills “a commitment that President Biden made as a candidate," when he described Trump's decision as “reckless.”

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.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., described the White House announcement as a “long overdue recognition that the grave humanitarian and political costs of using these weapons far exceed their limited military utility.”

“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," he said in a statement. "Neither of these indiscriminate weapons, the horrific consequences of which we are seeing in Ukraine today, belong in the arsenals of civilized nations.”

Under the new policy, the U.S. will restrict the use of these explosives outside of its efforts to help defend South Korea from a potential North Korean invasion. Although the U.S. does not currently have any minefields deployed there, Washington has pledged support for Seoul's defense, which includes anti-personnel mines.

The U.S. has a stockpile of 3 million anti-personnel land mines. Under the new policy, any that aren't needed to protect South Korea will be destroyed. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a question about whether any will be discarded.

The exception regarding the Korean Peninsula, which was also in place during President Barack Obama's administration, leaves the U.S. short of full compliance with the Ottawa Convention, the 1997 treaty intended to eliminate anti-personnel land mines.

Russia is not a signatory to the treaty either, and Human Rights Watch said it has documented Moscow's use of mines during its invasion of Ukraine.

Alicia Arango Olmos, Colombia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and a top official in the global campaign against the use of land mines, has urged Russia to stop deploying them. “Anti-personnel mines only cause victims, they don’t resolve any type of problem,” she said in April.

Her office praised the U.S. announcement on Tuesday.

“We welcome this timely decision and thank the United States for your commitment with the principles of the (Ottawa) Convention,” the office tweeted. “We need to continue our clearance efforts all around the world until we reach a #MineFreeWorld.”

U.S. officials said that the Pentagon was working on alternatives to land mines on the Korean peninsula, but did not detail what those might be.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the administration “needs to have a better answer about when those alternatives will be developed, rather than just kicking this down the road.”

He said the U.S. should continue working to completely comply with the Ottawa Convention.

“We need to get fully in step to fully differentiate ourselves from the international scofflaws like Russia," he said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP World News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Stocks gain ground, clawing back a piece of last week's drop
Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street Tuesday, clawing back some of the ground they lost in their worst weekly drop since the beginning of the pandemic
10:31AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Luxury market seen as growing in 2022 despite inflation, war
Neither inflation nor war in Ukraine seem to be threatening to take a bite out of the luxury fashion market
10:27AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Judge resets trial to Oct. 24 for 2 ex-cops in Floyd killing
A judge has rescheduled the state trial for two former Minneapolis police officers in George Floyd’s killing to Oct. 24 to resolve dueling requests for a new trial date
10:15AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Most land mine use by US military banned, OK in South Korea
President Joe Biden’s administration says it's restricting the use of anti-personnel land mines by the U.S. military, aligning more closely with an international treaty banning the deadly explosives
9:54AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Supreme Court rejects Bayer bid to stop Roundup lawsuits
The Supreme Court has rejected Bayer’s appeal to shut down thousands of lawsuits claiming that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer
9:38AM ( 57 minutes ago )
South Dakota impeachment trial probing AG's fatal crash
South Dakota senators have begun hearing evidence for the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, whose account of a fatal 2020 traffic accident led criminal investigators, some lawmakers and the victim’s family to question his truthfulness
9:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
'Everything is on fire': Ukraine region weathers bombardment
Russian attacks are laying down a curtain of fire across areas of eastern Ukraine where pockets of resistance are denying Moscow full military control of the region
9:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Crowds mark summer solstice at ancient Stonehenge monument
Thousands of druids, pagans and New Age revelers have greeted the summer solstice at Stonehenge on the longest day of the northern hemisphere year
8:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
South Korea launches first satellite with homegrown rocket
South Korea says it has conducted its first successful satellite launch using a domestically developed rocket
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Judge resets trial to Oct. 24 for 2 ex-cops in Floyd killing
A judge has rescheduled the state trial for two former Minneapolis police officers in George Floyd’s killing to Oct. 24 to resolve dueling requests for a new trial date
10:15AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M
Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov says he was not expecting the medal he was auctioning off to help Ukrainian child refugees sell for the record amount of $103.5 million
10:12AM ( 23 minutes ago )
War-damaged Russian tanks to go on display in Polish square
Polish and Ukraine government officials say they plan to put on public display in Warsaw damaged or burnt-out Russian tanks and armored vehicles captured by Ukrainian forces during the war
10:12AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Stonewall visitor center will be dedicated to LGBTQ history
A visitor center dedicated to telling the story of LGBTQ rights movement will open next door to the Stonewall Inn
10:10AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Most land mine use by US military banned, OK in South Korea
President Joe Biden’s administration says it's restricting the use of anti-personnel land mines by the U.S. military, aligning more closely with an international treaty banning the deadly explosives
9:54AM ( 42 minutes ago )