Lee Jae-Myung, the presidential candidate of South
Korea’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party
Korea’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, again voiced against and questions whether to grant special favors to K-pop superstar band BTS for mandatory military service by its members.
Yonhap News Agency reports that Lee was asked at a campaign event about his views on the long-running issue of whether the septet should be exempted from military service or given other favours for their role in promoting the nation’s image overseas. “Mandatory military service is a public duty set by the Constitution and we must be prudent about granting exceptions,” he replied.
“We can’t deny (BTS’) contribution to the nation, but we must be careful because it will be hard to draw the line if we expand (the scope of exceptions) like this,” he added.
Lee made similar remarks in December, saying he would prefer deferring BTS’ military service to granting the members exemptions. In November last year, Korean lawmakers had discussed a bill that would allow prominent pop celebrities like BTS to substitute their mandatory military service for other public services but failed to draw a conclusion.
A report from Yonhap News Agency, which quoted remarks from Boo Seung-chan, the spokesperson for Korea’s defence ministry, said that the military is considering “situational variables” over the so-called BTS Law.
The BTS Law bill, if passed, would allow the septet to continue their work as K-pop idols for 34 months under an alternative program, in place of them undergoing the regular 18 to 22 months of mandatory military service served by South Korean males, per The Korea Herald.
All able-bodied South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to carry out compulsory military service for about two years.
Exemptions have been granted to international award-winning athletes and classical musicians for their roles in elevating the country’s reputation overseas.
On the other hand, BTS members have been a break since December. Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jungkook took off for their break after they wrapped up their Permission To Dance On Stage In LA. Although on a break, the BTS members have kept fans busy with their Instagram and Weverse activities.
Frequently Asked Question
- How long is Korean Military Service?
South Korea’s 18-month service is among the
world’s longest, following the two years served in Singapore and Thailand, plus the roughly three years required to Israeli men.
- Can BTS go to the military together?
To recall, BTS was exempted from the maximum enlistment age rule last December and allowed to join the army after turning 30.
- Will BTS come back after 2026?
According to their recent contract renewal, BTS will remain under their label Big Hit Entertainment through 2026.