Agency says BTS member will serve in South Korea’s military

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—Members of K-pop band BTS should be given exemptions for their artistic achievements, their management company announced on Monday that they will be performing mandatory military service under South Korean law. It effectively ended the debate as to whether

Big Hit Music said Jin, the band’s oldest member, has canceled his request to postpone the draft at the end of the month and will take necessary steps. Six other BTS members are also planning military service and “following their commitment to service, we look forward to reuniting as a group around 2025,” the company said in a statement.

No further information was given regarding the timing of their service.The band members played together in Busan over the weekend to help with the city’s EXPO bid, according to the label.

Big Hit’s parent company, Hybe Corp., said in an email to The Associated Press that for the time being, each member of the band will focus on their individual activities scheduled to coincide with their military service plans.

In a letter to shareholders, Hybe CEO Park Jiwon downplayed financial concerns related to BTS’s hiatus, citing other popular K-pop groups such as Le Sserafim and New Jeans as well as Western performers. He said they have a wide enough line-up of artists, including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. .

“We are always aware of the possibility of mandatory military service and have been preparing for this moment for a long time,” Park wrote. ‘s individual activities are planned, pre-securing content that will allow BTS to continue engaging with fans for the foreseeable future.”

The announcement came after Military Manpower Administration commissioner Lee Ki-sik told lawmakers earlier this month that it was “preferable” for BTS members to serve in the military to ensure fairness in the country’s military service.

After enlisting, Jin and the other BTS members will undergo five weeks of combat training before being assigned to specific units or duties, according to a Military Manpower Administration official. He stressed that they would go through the same process as men.

For years, the South Korean military assigned enlisted entertainers to duties related to producing radio and television material promoting the military, but following complaints about fairness, the “entertainment soldier” system was discontinued in 2013. was abolished to

Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop said in August that BTS members would likely be allowed to continue practicing and participate in overseas tours if they enlisted in the military.

Whether BTS members should serve in the military has been a hotly debated issue in South Korea, as Jin faced the possibility of enlisting early next year. Men are no longer at an age where they can delay their enlistment.

Under Korean law, most able-bodied people are required to serve 18 to 21 months in the military, but special exemptions were granted to athletes and artists who excelled in certain international competitions tied to national prestige. rice field.

Avoiding military service or creating exemptions is a very sensitive issue, as conscription in South Korea hinders professional careers and academic studies for young men. Polls in recent weeks have revealed that opinions are split on whether BTS members should serve in the military.

Associated Press