According to South Korean defence minister Lee Jong-sup, BTS members may be able to perform overseas while serving in the military. Jong-sup stated during the parliamentary session that by allowing BTS to continue operations, the military would be able to serve national interests without affecting the already limited pool of personnel resources. The issue of mandatory military service has come to the forefront as BTS’s oldest member, Jin, turns 30 next year.

Jin (1992), Suga (1993), RM (1994), J-Hope (1994), Jimin (1995), V (1995), and Jungkook (1995) make up BTS (1997). The country is currently debating reducing mandatory military service for K-pop stars from two years to three weeks. Globally recognised K-pop stars were allowed to postpone their service until the age of 30 under a 2019 revision of the law.

“Even if they join the military, if there are scheduled concerts abroad, they will be able to practise and perform together. Because many people value (artists serving in the military), this may increase their popularity even further “According to Reuters, Jong-sup stated.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to perform their duties as part of efforts to defend against a nuclear-armed North Korea. Some categories have received exemptions over the years, allowing them to postpone or shorten their service. They included Olympic and Asian Games medalists, as well as classical musicians and dancers who have won top prizes in competitions.

BTS announced earlier this year that they would be taking a break from group musical activities to pursue solo projects, citing exhaustion as the reason. According to the report, a Big Hit official stated in April that some members were having a “hard time” due to uncertainty over the parliament debate, and that a decision was needed.

Last year, BTS became the first Asian band to win artist of the year at the American Music Awards. In May, they also met with US President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss hate crimes against Asians.

By Piya

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