BTS may still be allowed to perform while carrying out their mandatory military service in South Korea, the country’s defense minister said.
As a result of the country’s decades-long war with North Korea, all able-bodied South Korean men must serve for a minimum of 18 months before their 28th birthday.
In 2020, exceptions were made for BTS members to delay their service until they were 30, meaning the oldest BTS member, 29-year-old Jin, would normally be expected to enlist later this year.
Speaking at a parliamentary session on Monday, South Korea’s defense minister Lee Jong-sup said a number of options for alternative military service are being explored for BTS.
“[The BTS members] should come to the military, and I believe there will be a way for us to give them the opportunity to practice as well as allow them to leave the country and perform anytime if they have overseas concerts scheduled,” he said.
“As many people highly value [artists serving] in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more.”
In May, Culture, Sports, and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee called for the band’s seven members; Jung Kook, V, Jimin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jin, and RM, to be exempt from South Korea’s mandatory military service.
“It’s time to create a system for incorporating popular culture-art figures as art personnel,” he told Yonhap News Agency.
“The [exemption] 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.”
The two-time Grammy-nominated band is by far Korea’s biggest music act of current years, having sold millions of dollars worth of music.
The K-pop band last month announced they’re taking a break as a group to pursue solo projects.
The singers released a video in Korean to announce the next stage of their careers when they reportedly said they would be going on a “temporary hiatus,” but promised they would “return someday.”
With Post wires