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Thursday, December 8, 2022

K-pop stars to serve military duty

Members of the Korean boy band BTS must all go on mandatory military service, their agency has said

All seven members of the famous South Korean pop (K-pop) boy band BTS will be required to carry out mandatory military service, the group’s management agency has said. The oldest member, 29-year-old Jin, will be the first to go later this month and is expected to remain out of the public eye for nearly two years.

“Jin will cancel the request to delay enlistment in late October 2022 and follow the Military Manpower Administration’s relevant procedures for enlistment,” the agency said.

BTS, who became a worldwide sensation after their debut in 2013, will likely reconvene no sooner than 2025, HYBE-owned Bighit Music, which manages the group, said in a separate statement. All BTS members are “honored to serve,” the statement said.

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The announcement comes after a long national debate over whether the group should receive an exemption from South Korea’s mandatory draft, which requires all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 to serve in the military for 18 to 21 months, amid tensions with nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea. 

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Both K-pop fans and some South Korean lawmakers have argued that BTS members have made considerable contributions to the country’s economy and international image and should thus be given exemptions similar to those provided to Olympic and Asian games medalists, classical musicians, and dancers who win top prizes at certain competitions.

Other Korean officials, however, have insisted the band members fulfill their military duty to dispel accusations of favoritism. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup told the National Defense Committee earlier this month that it was “desirable that members of BTS carry out their mandatory military services,” a sentiment that was echoed by Lee Ki Sik, the commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, who claimed it would help ensure fairness in the nation’s military system.

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Under South Korean law, avoiding mandatory military service is considered a crime and carries a sentence of up to 18 months. Those who refuse to serve on moral or religious grounds are offered to instead work for three years in the country’s prison system as cooks, janitors, or civilian administrators.

https://ift.tt/PcvIE2W 17, 2022 at 07:39PM
from RT – Daily news

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