In January 2020 the United States lifted restrictions on the deployment of anti-personnel landmines by American forces. This ban had been imposed in 2014 for American troops everywhere except those in South Korea. That decision was criticized worldwide because most nations had signed and ratified the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning the manufacture or use of landmines.
The new American rules allow U.S. troops to use landmines that are activated or deactivated electronically and permanently deactivate after a set period or when their battery runs out of power. The Americans believe the mines are essential in Korea because North Korea has been threatening to attack again.
The U.S. believes the Ottawa Convention is largely a failure because landmines are still widely used. While 161 nations signed the Ottawa treaty, the 36 which did not comprise some major military powers like China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel (and the Palestinians), both Koreas, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Most of these nations still see a pressing need for landmines, although many are trying to find replacement weapons.