According to South Korean defense minister Lee Jeong-seop, BTS may still be able to perform while performing their compulsory military service.
On Monday (August 1), Lee spoke about BTS’ military service terms at a National Defence Committee meeting of the South Korean National Assembly.
“I believe BTS could enlist in the military, and still be given time to practice and perform overseas,” said Lee, as reported by News1.
“MND has reviewed [the issue of BTS’ enlistment] in consideration of maintaining fairness, equity, and military service resources, and they may be able to continue serving the national interest,” he said.
According to Reuters, the minister added: “As many people highly value [artists serving] in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more.”
Director Lee Ki-shik of the Military Manpower Association also reportedly stated that implementing additional exemptions for pop culture figures on top of the military’s existing provisions could “break the overall framework of military service exemption”.
His comment suggests it is unlikely the boyband will receive a full exemption from service, though provisions may be made for them to continue their promotional activities concurrently.
Currently, the South Korean parliament is discussing a bill that may allow pop culture figures such as BTS to serve an “alternative” role in the arts and culture sector.
Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee called for the boyband’s exemption from South Korea’s mandatory military service in May.