Assign BTS to Jamboree concert mission: lawmaker
Rep. Sung Il-jong on Tuesday requested the Defense Ministry send BTS members serving in the military to the K-pop concert closing the 25th World Scout Jamboree on Friday.
“The World [Scout] Jamboree held in Saemangeum, North Jeolla, was an event that damaged the nation’s prestige due to a lack of preparation and poor management,” Sung said in a social media post.
“I urge the Ministry of National Defense to allow BTS to perform at the Jamboree in order to restore our fallen stature,” he added.
BTS members Jin and J-Hope are currently serving their 18-month military duty in the army.
Sung said the provincial government of North Jeolla and the central government failed to carry out their respective leadership and supporting roles at the Jamboree and highlighted the need to make up for the letdown using Korea’s cultural power.
“All department hands need to be on deck to successfully close out the event in line with the public’s wish.
Memories with BTS that the young people can take with them will be another asset for Korea,” he added
Some BTS fans who were outraged by Sung's remarks posted a statement on an online community blasting the request as an “abuse of governmental authority” and a “regression of democracy.”
Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, leader of the conservative People Power Party that Sung is a member of, said that the issue is not a party-level subject.
“It’s an area that Sung is especially keen on,” Kim told reporters after a preparatory meeting for the approaching Typhoon Khanun at the government complex in central Seoul.
Sung, also a member of the National Defense Committee, argued that BTS members should be exempt from their service duties because the boy band’s success has “tremendously contributed to the nation’s prestige” on a radio program in April 2022.
“It’s a loophole in the law that they are unable to receive service benefits,” he claimed.
The “K-pop Super Live” concert was initially scheduled to be held at a special live stage at Saemangeum on Sunday, but the World Scout Jamboree becoming a flop and the incoming typhoon saw the venue moved to Seoul World Cup Stadium in western Seoul.
Major K-pop artists, including girl group NewJeans, will reportedly perform at the concert, scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday.
BY JEONG HYE-JEONG, SOHN DONG-JOO [email@example.com]