Members of K-pop giants BTS will not be exempted from military service under the government's new guidelines on conscription waivers, South Korea's culture minister Park Yang-woo confirmed.
Minister says he personally wanted to allow BTS's exemption
Yonhap reported that the South Korean government had been facing increasing calls to allow the globally acclaimed boyband a military service waiver.
Such waivers are often given to global award-winning athletes and classical musicians, in recognition of their efforts in promoting South Korea's international image.
Park stated that he personally wished he could have allowed BTS members' exemption "under certain standards".
However, the manpower administration and defence ministry of the government were inclined to downsize the overall scope of exemption.
"Unlike classical arts or sports, it is difficult to fix the criteria of the selection in the popular culture and arts fields, which makes it difficult to institutionalize (a waiver system)," the minister added.
Eldest member required to enlist by 2020
Kim Seok-jin (Jin), the eldest member of BTS, is required by South Korea's military service law to enlist in the armed forces by 2020, when he turns 28.
All able-bodied South Korean men are compelled to serve in the military for about two years for the national defense against North Korea, by the age of 28.
The South is technically still at war with North Korea, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a ceasefire, and not in a peace treaty.
K-pop group Big Bang recently had its four members discharged from military service after two years -- Daesung and Taeyang being the latest to discharge on Nov. 10, 2019.
Top image via @honeyjoonie94/Twitter