For immediate release
January 31, 2020
The Korea Peace Now! campaign strongly condemns the Trump administration’s decision to loosen restrictions on the US military’s ability to use landmines.
Given that the DMZ has one of the highest concentrations of landmines in the world, that the United States has stated its commitment to build a “lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” and that the two leaders of Korea pledged to transform the Korean Peninsula “into a land of peace free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threats,” the decision to expand the use of landmines is antithetical to the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as a threat to the peace and security of Koreans, Americans, and people all over the world.
“The United States, South Korea, and North Korea should be signing the Mine Ban Treaty to once and for all end the use of these horrific weapons of war,” said Jody Williams, the chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. “Mr. Trump should not be rolling back U.S. landmine policy when we have been making steady progress in creating a landmine-free world.”
Williams shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which she helped create. In 2018, she met with soldiers in South Korea who described to her how the process of de-mining portions of the DMZ with North Korean soldiers led to a greater understanding of their shared humanity. “Artificial borders and weapons keep us apart when we need to come together,” said Williams.
The women leaders of Korea Peace Now! point out that while the Obama administration restricted the use of landmines and put a moratorium on production, it excluded the Korean Peninsula, allowing the US military to continue to use landmines there.
“Landmines have killed and maimed hundreds of people in South Korea since the Korean War, and hundreds of landmines remain,” said Youngmi Cho, executive director of the Korean Women’s Movement for Peace. “They are not making us any safer, and they will not make the world any safer. This is a dangerous step backward for peace.”