BTS' future has raised questions as many wonder what would happen should members of the K-pop group serve in South Korea’s military, but the country’s defense minister, Lee Jong-sup, said that they can still perform overseas while completing their service.
"Even if they join the military, there would be a way to give them a chance to practice and perform together if there are scheduled concerts abroad,” he said, according to an Aug. 1 report by Reuters. "As many people highly value [artists serving] in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more."
All South Korean men between ages 18-28 are required to serve in the nation’s military for at least 18 months, but members of BTS have been able to delay their military service due to a revised Military Service Act that allows men to postpone their military service until age 30 under certain circumstances. However, the future of BTS has come to the forefront with member Jin's 30th birthday approaching.
Earlier this year, South Korean Culture Minister Hwang Hee urged parliament to review the current laws that would require BTS to report for military duty, according to Bloomberg.
"It would be a national loss," Hwang said, adding that it would also be a "cultural loss for mankind" if the singers have to "suspend their activities due to the fulfillment of their military service obligations when their achievements in promoting national prestige and their skills are at their peak."
In 2018, the group was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by President Moon Jae-in. Typically, cultural merits can only be awarded to musicians who have been active for at least 15 years, NME reported. Currently, BTS is the only group that qualifies for the deferment. In 2020, the group's hit single "Dynamite" topped Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 chart, making them the first Asian group since 1963 to achieve such success.
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