• Defense minister nominee Suh Wook weighed in on BTS potentially being granted special military service exemption
  • He said that there must be public consensus before the ministry can decide on the issue
  • Jin is supposed to enlist this year but may postpone his service to 2021

As BTS' Jin approaches the mandatory age deadline to enlist, South Korea's Defense minister nominee Suh Wook has commented on the issue of the members of the K-pop group potentially being granted exemptions from compulsory military service.

On Monday, Sept. 14, Suh submitted a written opinion to the National Assembly's National Defense Committee in which he states his position on the military service exemption system and a special military exemption for the K-pop stars. He said that the ministry must first consult the public before making a decision on this issue, The Korea Herald reported.

“Everyone should be treated fairly and equitably. The special military service exception for talented pop culture artists is a matter in which a national consensus should precede, and sufficient discussion is needed in advance,” Suh said.

The committee is set to open a hearing on his credentials as Defense chief on Wednesday.

All able-bodied men in South Korea are required to enlist for military service for around two years by the time they are 28, although exemptions had previously been given to individuals with great accomplishments.

Those who have been granted exemptions include athletes who won medals at the Olympics and gold at the Asian Games, as well as classical musicians who received awards at international competitions.

However, pop stars like Jin and the other members of BTS are not qualified to skip compulsory military service despite calls for their exemption after they gained worldwide success.

Despite the speculations, however, BTS previously made their position clear on their military enlistment in an interview with CBS last year.

“As a Korean, it's natural. And someday when duty calls, we'll be ready to respond and do our best,” Jin told correspondent Seth Doane.

When asked if BTS would break off once the members start enlisting, Jungkook said, “I don't want to think about it at this point. We have something really good going.”

“That's the answer. We just enjoy the ride, live in the moment. That's all we can do,” RM added.

BTS’ Jin, who will turn 28 this December, was supposed to enlist this year, but the group's label, Big Hit Entertainment, stated in documents that mention the members' mandatory military service that the eldest member’s enlistment could be pushed back to next year.

“BTS is composed of members born in 1992 to 1997, and are all eligible for their mandatory active-duty service,” Big Hit stated. “We believe that the postponement of Jin’s enlistment will be possible until the end of 2021, under the revised Military Service Act.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) Jimin, Jungkook, RM, J-Hope, V, Jin, and SUGA of the K-pop boy band BTS visit the "Today" Show at Rockefeller Plaza on February 21, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/WireImage) Photo by Cindy Ord/WireImage