The government of The US announced on Tuesday that it is renouncing the use, production and purchase of antipersonnel minesthus largely complying with the 1997 Ottawa convention, ratified by 164 countries, but not including the US, China, India and Russia.
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The White House reported in a phone call that the decision reflects the position of the US president, Joe Biden, who believes that antipersonnel mines have a “disproportionate” impact on the civilian population, including children, once a conflict has ended.
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The commitment made by the US Government aligns the country with most of the requirements of the Ottawa Convention, but does not imply its ratification of the treaty.
The US renunciation of antipersonnel minesa has, in fact, one notable exception: the Korean peninsula, where the US is keeping open the possibility to use this type of explosive device.
South and North Korea were at war between 1950 and 1953, the year in which they signed an armistice, but the formal end of the conflict was never declared, so technically, both countries are still at war.
The United States, which participated in the conflict on the southern side, has in South Korea one of its main allies in Asia, while living in a situation of permanent tension with the communist regime in North Korea.
The exclusion of the Korean peninsula from the new US policy on antipersonnel mines responds precisely to this conflict, which the US considers an “exceptional circumstance” and assures that, above all, its priority is to maintain support and guarantee the security of its South Korean allies.
The renunciation of antipersonnel mines decreed by Biden materializes in five specific points: first, not to develop, produce or acquire antipersonnel mines.
Second, not to export or transfer them, except when this is necessary for activities related to the detection or destruction of mines, or for demining tasks.
The third of the measures is not to use antipersonnel mines, with the exception of the Korean peninsula, and the fourth, not to aid, encourage or induce anyone to carry out any type of activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention, again with the exception of the Korean peninsula.
Finally, the fifth measure is to destroy all stockpiles of antipersonnel mines that are not necessary for the defense of South Korea.
*With information from EFE and AFP
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