4 more BTS members to begin mandatory military service

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Four more members of the K-pop supergroup BTS are to begin their mandatory South Korean military duties soon, their management agency said.

Big Hit Music said in a statement Tuesday that the enlistments are “upcoming” but didn’t disclose the starting dates. South Korean media reported that all four members will begin their duties next week — RM and V on Dec. 11 and Jimin and Jung Kook, who are scheduled to enlist together, on Dec. 12.

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There will be no official events on the day of their entrance to military bases, Big Hit Music said. The agency advised fans to refrain from visiting the sites to prevent any possible crowding-related issues.

Three other BTS members – Jin, J-Hope and Suga – have already begun their military duties. Jin and J-Hope are performing active service in the army while Suga is serving as a social service agent, an alternative form of military service in the country.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve about 18-21 months in the military under a conscription system established to maintain readiness against potential aggressions from rival North Korea.

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Last year, fierce public debate flared over whether BTS members should be exempted from their military duties. But Big Hit Music later said all seven members would fulfill their obligations. The agency said both the company and the BTS members were looking forward to reconvening as a group around 2025 following their service commitment.

South Korean law grants exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers if they are deemed to have enhanced the country’s prestige. K-pop singers aren’t eligible for the special dispensation.

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