August 10, 2023
SEOUL – Fans of the globally popular K-pop group BTS are expressing outrage over a Korean politician’s call for two of the band’s members, who are currently serving in the military, to perform at the World Scout Jamboree’s “K-pop Super Live” concert in Seoul.
Rep. Sung Il-jong of the ruling People Power Party requested Friday that the Ministry of National Defense send the two BTS members serving in the military to the World Scout Jamboree’s concert.
“The World Scout Jamboree held in Saemangeum, North Jeolla Province was an event that damaged our national prestige due to its lack of preparation and poor management,” wrote Sung in a Facebook post. “I urge the Ministry of National Defense to allow all members of BTS serving in the military to perform at the jamboree’s K-pop concert on the 11th to restore our country’s dignity.”
Out of the seven members, Jin and J-Hope are currently serving their 18-month military duty.
Several BTS fans have expressed their anger over Sung’s Facebook post, saying the request was an example of an “abuse of governmental authority” and “a regression of democracy.” A post written by a BTS fan on X — the social media platform previously known as Twitter — read, “BTS is just a K-pop group that’s associated with Korea and does not belong to the government.” Another post read, “Why should BTS cover up the mess you made?”
Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, leader of the People Power Party, said that the issue raised by Sung has not been discussed with the entire party. “It’s an area that Sung is particularly interested in.”
With other major K-pop groups such as NewJeans and NCT Dream scheduled to perform during the K-pop concert, several fans of other K-pop groups have also voiced their concerns. A thread of posts being shared by K-pop fans on X read: “K-pop artists are not public workers who have an obligation to restore Korea’s dignity and prestige. The government must stop abusing its power in the pop culture industry.”
The ”K-pop Super Live” concert is scheduled to be held at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Mapo-gu, western Seoul on Friday at 7 p.m. It was initially scheduled to be held at Saemangeum, but the venue was moved due to the incoming Typhoon Khanun.