Over the next few years, all seven members of BTS will fulfill their mandatory military service in South Korea, extending the group’s previously-announced hiatus until 2025. But, luckily for that all-important other ARMY, the news doesn’t mean BTS won’t still be around in some capacity.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, a spokesperson for the Korean Defense Ministry said the members of the group will be able to take part in specific “national-level” events even as they complete their service, according to The Korea Times.
“Our position is that we will provide an opportunity if they wish to participate when there is a national-level event for the public good or an event designed in light of the national interest,” the spokesperson, Col. Moon Hong-sik, said during a press conference.
This isn’t even a BTS-specific exemption, with Hong-sik noting that current guidelines mean the same opportunities are open to other service members (though not many others are world-famous pop stars, to be fair). Hong-sik’s comments follow similar remarks from Korea’s Defense Minister, Lee Jong-sup, who said earlier this month that overseas performances would even be an option for BTS members during their service.
BTS’ label, Big Hit Entertainment, officially confirmed that the group’s seven members would be fulfilling their mandatory military duties on Monday, Oct. 17. Jin will be the first to enlist following the release of his upcoming solo music at the end of the month; the other six members will enlist over the next several years based on their individual schedules.
In South Korea, it is standard for men to begin a 21-month stint in the military by their 28th birthday. Several members of BTS who are older than that have been granted additional time, while the band’s team has also looked for exceptions and ways for the members to complete their service requirements in a different capacity.
When Rolling Stone spoke with BTS last year, their plans regarding enlistment were still uncertain, though they didn’t seem too concerned. “I’m sure it will work out so that we can continue to see ARMY,” V said. “About military service or what will happen, we haven’t discussed it in the specifics amongst ourselves, but I’m sure it’ll work out eventually.”