U.S. Landmine Policy

In September 2014, the following policy changes were announced: The United States is aligning our anti-personnel landmine (APL) policy outside the Korean Peninsula with the key requirements of the Ottawa Convention, the international treaty prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL, which more than 160 countries have joined, including all of our NATO Allies. This means that the United States will:

  • not use APL outside the Korean Peninsula;
  • not assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention; and
  • undertake to destroy APL stockpiles not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea.

This change to U.S. APL policy builds on the announcement that the U.S. delegation made in June 2014 at the Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention in Maputo, Mozambique, that the United States will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel munitions that are not compliant with the Ottawa Convention, including to replace such munitions as they expire in the coming years. It also follows previous steps the United States has taken to end the use of all non-detectable mines and all persistent mines, which can remain active for years after the end of a conflict.

The measures announced today represent a further step to advance the humanitarian aims of the Ottawa Convention and to bring U.S. practice in closer alignment with a global humanitarian movement that has had a demonstrated positive impact in reducing civilian casualties from APL.

Even as we take this further step, the unique circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea preclude us from changing our anti-personnel landmine policy there at this time. We will continue our diligent efforts to pursue material and operational solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow us to accede to the Ottawa Convention while ensuring our ability to meet our alliance commitments to the Republic of Korea. The security of the Republic of Korea will continue to be a paramount concern as we move forward with these efforts.