BTS Member SUGA Set to Enlist in South Korean Military Service

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BTS member SUGA has become the third member of the popular K-pop band to enlist in South Korea’s mandatory military service, according to the group’s agency announcement on Monday.

As per South Korean law, all able-bodied men in the country must fulfill a minimum of 18 months of military service. After much debate about whether BTS should be exempted, the band’s oldest member, Jin, enlisted last year, followed by his bandmate J-Hope in April.

In a statement, HYBE, the agency representing BTS, said, “We would like to inform our fans that SUGA has begun the military enlistment process by applying for the termination of his enlistment postponement. We ask for your continued love and support for SUGA until he completes his military service and returns safely.” However, no further details were provided.

Prior to their hiatus in June last year, BTS achieved six No.1 hits on the Hot 100 chart. Each member of the septet has also reached the top of the charts with their solo tracks, as reported by Billboard.

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has not only generated billions of dollars for South Korea but has also greatly contributed to enhancing the country’s image and soft power on the global stage. The group has been invited to speak at the United Nations and has had the opportunity to meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

Earlier this year, Bang Si-hyuk, the chairman of BTS’ agency, expressed concern about military service slowing down the global growth of K-pop. He pointed out that the global K-pop market significantly narrows when BTS is absent and that enlisting in the military can damage a person’s career continuity or their value as a national asset.

It’s worth noting that South Korea currently offers exemptions from military service to individuals such as Olympic medal-winning athletes and certain classical musicians. However, K-pop musicians are not eligible for such exemptions under the existing program.

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