Korea’s defense min implies BTS members can join global tours while on military duty

2022.08.02 13:52:51 | 2022.08.02 15:05:45

[Photo by Big Hit Music]이미지 확대

[Photo by Big Hit Music]

BTS members could continue with their musical engagements and also join overseas tours while serving in the military, South Korea’s defense minister said, promising privileges for the K-pop global star while denying military exemptions on grounds of fairness in the conscription duty for all able Korean men.

During a parliamentary session on Monday, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said there could be other ways to address deprivation of activities by global K-pop stars like BTS due to the near two-year conscription without impairing the principles of fairness.

“As many people abroad view highly of celebrities serving in the military, I believe that BTS members’ military service can help their popularity,” Lee said in a response to a lawmaker’s question about a law amendment exempting pop stars from military duty for contributing to national dignity and revenue just as the law does for classical music and sports talents who win international competitions.

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]

“I believe there would be ways to allow (BTS) to continue with their musical training and join overseas concerts,” he said.

Sung il-jong, a lawmaker from People Power Party, requested the government needs to revise the national military draft system so that Korea can have more global pop stars like BTS in the future after emphasizing that BTS has helped contribute around 56 trillion won ($42.8 billion) to the nation’s economic wealth over the past decade.

In 2018, the Korean government passed a revision of the Military Service Act, also known as the “BTS law” to enable postponements of military service until the age of 30 for special cases.

The eldest member of BTS, Kim Seok-jin (Jin), turns 30 in December, and would have to comply with duty call next year. BTS in June announced they were taking some time off after nonstop nine-year run. The septet plans to engage in solo activities and military services during the hiatus.

By Kim Sung-hoon and Susan Lee

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