South Korean Official Proposes Alternative Military Service for K-Pop Band BTS

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K-pop sensations Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook of BTS are at a crossroads. In South Korea, it is customary for men to begin serving a 21-month term in the military by 28 years of age. Currently, three of the seven BTS members are 28 years of age or older (Jin, Suga, and J-Hope) and have already received accommodations for more time before beginning service.

Jin, specifically, was granted accommodations due to his status as a “pop-culture artist who was recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have greatly enhanced the image of Korea both within the nation and throughout the world.”

So, with these duties to their home country looming right at the peak of their popularity, South Korean officials are considering additional alternative options for the superstars.

Busan city Mayor, Park Heong-joon, in particular, has proposed a different path for the members of BTS. “If BTS is allowed alternative military service, its members will be assigned with national duties as heavy as military service and will serve the nation in their unique capacity,” Park told Yonhap News Agency, a South Korean news agency based in Seoul.

More specifically, these alternative duties would include the BTS members serving as public relations ambassadors for South Korea to promote the country’s bid for the 2030 World Expo. According to the Seoul news outlet, Busan, South Korea, is currently competing with cities in Italy and Saudi Arabia for the World Expo bid.

Officials have yet to confirm or deny Mayor Park Heong-joon’s proposal.

In an earlier interview on the topic, V said, “I’m sure it will work out so that we can continue to see ARMY [BTS’s fanbase]. About military service or what will happen, we haven’t discussed it in the specifics amongst ourselves, but I’m sure it’ll work out eventually.”

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

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