BTS may be exempted from mandatory military service, suggests Korean culture minister; ARMY says 'they deserve it'

  • BTS was previously given a two-year extension to complete their mandatory military service. The oldest BTS members are Jin and Suga at 29, followed by J-Hope at 28, RM at 27, and Jimin and V at 26. Youngest member is Jungkook at 24.
BTS members RM, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jin, Jimin, and Jungkook.
BTS members RM, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jin, Jimin, and Jungkook.
Published on May 05, 2022 04:41 PM IST
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A new statement from South Korea culture minister has suggested that BTS members may not have to take a hiatus from their music career to serve the military after all. There have been speculations of BTS members leaving the band to complete their service for several years, but it has been delayed until now. South Korean law makes it mandatory for all able-bodied male citizens between 18 and 28 to serve at least 21 months in the military, but BTS members were previously given a two-year extension. Also Read| BTS ARMY disappointed after workout video claiming to be with group doesn't feature members: 'I feel betrayed'

The oldest BTS members are Jin and Suga at 29, followed by J-Hope at 28, RM at 27, and Jimin and V at 26. The youngest member is Jungkook at 24 years old. Jin and Suga face enlistment by December this year. However, South Korea culture, sports and tourism Minister Hwang Hee has given BTS ARMY hope that the band may not have to join the military.

As per Allkpop, Hwang Hee said that he has proposed that global icons from South Korea, including award-winning athletes and musicians, should be allowed to substitute mandatory military service for other alternative programmes in recognition of their role in promoting the country's image abroad. He also said that he has asked the parliament to approve a relevant bill as early as possible.

Hwang Hee said during a press briefing in Seoul on Wednesday, "It's time to create a system for incorporating popular culture-art figures as art personnel. The system has been operated meaningfully to give those who have enhanced the national status based on their excellent skills more chances to contribute to the country, and there is no reason the popular art-culture field should be excluded from this."

Talking about the seven-member K-pop group BTS, which has fans all across the world, Hwang Hee said, "I thought somebody should be a responsible voice at a time when there are conflicting pros and cons ahead of the enlistment of some of the BTS members." He noted that forcing the BTS members to take a hiatus from their music career to serve in the military would cause a great loss to South Korea and the rest of the world.

The members themselves have maintained that they will accept the military service whenever they are enlisted. However, their fans have repeatedly advocated for an exemption. ARMY welcomed the culture minister's latest statement, with one saying, "They (BTS) don’t need it. They deserve it."

Another fan commented, "Yes BTS contributed a lot to the economy of Korea, it's more than enough to serve their military service." A third one wrote, "In 2019 they brought in an 4.7 million dollars to SK. The percentage of GDP they bring into the country is on the same level as major brands such as Samsung and Hyundai. And that's not even touching the cultural impact they've made."

BTS had performed a four-day concert in the United States last month. They are now preparing to release their anthology album Proof on June 10.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022