BTS to enlist? South Korean defence minister finally responds to military exemption for K-pop supergroup
An alternate military service that would keep BTS active as a K-pop group had received much criticism from fans
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: After much deliberation and back and forth, we finally may have an answer as to is BTS enlisting for mandatory military service. The Defence Minister of South Korea has spoken up in hopes to end this debate. All healthy South Korean males under the age of 30 have to enlist for mandatory military service and unfortunately to date, even K-pop idols are not exempt.
But with BTS' global influence as they single-handedly brought in $3.5 billion into their country in 2020 and raised South Korea's cultural and economic status, those in power have been trying to get them exempted. The Culture Minister, in fact, had shared that BTS enlisting would be a national loss which had made the Korean youth furious as they found it unfair. Since mid-2021, the Defence Ministry has been trying to come up with an unbiased system as to which art personnels can be exempted to be fair to BTS' peers and the general public but have not found a solution. They even tried to do a public opinion poll which received much backlash.
Will BTS enlist?
It should be noted that BTS themslves have shared that they will fulfil their duty as South Korean citizens and enlist when the time comes. The preposterous and tiring suggestions by the higher-ups to let BTS enlist and also be active as a group had BTS fans angry. Well, on September 20, at the National Assembly held in Seoul, the Democratic Party asked the Defence Minister about BTS' special exemption from their mandatory military service and their latest decision to cancel the public opinion poll.
Defence Ministry in favor of enlisting
A representative asked, "The issue of BTS' military service is not being decided through an opinion poll...Can the decision for whether or not the group will serve in the military really be made through a poll?" In response, Defence Minister Lee replied, "To reiterate the position of the Ministry of the National Defense, there is no change in the existing position that it is difficult to expand the alternative service system in terms of the fairness of the military service obligations on the BTS military service issue."
The Democratic Party representative too shared their party's thoughts and agreed, "I think that the most important duty of military service among the four obligations under the Constitution should be implemented in accordance with laws and principles. I hope that the Minister's stern will be upheld."
Since mid-2021, when the Defence Ministry launched a special debate to consider BTS' military service, their position has always been that to let the K-pop supergroup enlist. The updates that fans have been getting through the months have been opinions and suggestions by other ministries and leading figures in the cultural department.
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