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BTS, the K-Pop Superstars, Must Serve in South Korea’s Military

The seven members of the K-pop group BTS, the first South Korean musicians to top the Billboard charts, must fulfill their mandatory military service, the country’s defense ministry confirmed this week.

By law, able-bodied South Korean men must register to spend about two years in the armed forces, as part of a conscription system seen as crucial to the country’s defense against North Korea. Women are exempt, but can enlist.

K-pop stars are no exception, Lee Nam-woo, an official with ministry of defense, said at a news conference on Thursday.

The public has shown significant interest in the government’s consideration of exemptions for popular artists who have contributed to the country’s reputation, he said, but the exemptions have been denied.

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