With the mounting interest about K-pop boy band BTS’ military service, another proposal has been made to let them do the mandatory duty together in a disputed island.
On an online community, it has been suggested that BTS’ Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook should be enlisted together and do their military service in the disputed Liancourt Rocks, a group of islets called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan.
Liancourt Rocks are under the territorial control of South Korea. According to Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of March 2019, there are about 40 Koreans who are in the island. Kim Sin Yeol is a permanent resident of Dokdo while there are 35 police personnel, two lighthouse managers and two Dokdo office staff stationed in the islands.
Dokdo, about 216.8 km. from South Korea’s mainland, is composed of Seodo and Dongdo, the two main islands, and 89 islets with a total area of 213,071 sq. m., according to the Dokdo website.
The online proposal stated that BTS members can serve together as part of the Dokdo Security Police, which provides territorial security to the island including arresting people who enter the island illegally.
It said that by stationing BTS in Dokdo, it will strengthen sovereignty over the island and increase tourism income for Ulleung County, which has administrative control over Dokdo.
Last year, a total of 226,645 tourists visited Dongdo and from 2005 to March this year, there were 2.2 million visitors to the island or a daily average of 500, the MOFA stated. A designated cruise line ferries passengers from Ulleung Island to Dokdo.
A similar petition on the official website of Korean President Moon Jae-in stated that Jin, who was born in December 1992, is enlisting in the military next year and with this, it will be difficult to see BTS complete in the future.
According to a revised rule by the Military Manpower Administration, Korean men must enlist by 28 years old from the previous 30.
The petition also stated by stationing BTS in the island, this will be a reminder to their ARMY fans that Dokdo belongs to South Korea.
According to a Korean news site, only volunteers are selected to be part of the Dokdo Security Police and even if BTS members enlist, they cannot be forced to be deployed to Dokdo until they volunteer. A platoon, consisting of 30 to 35 members, is stationed in Dokdo for 50 days.
Another petition on the presidential website seeks to postpone BTS’ military service until they are 35 while an expired petition sought to grant military service exemption to BTS.
Jin and Suga are both 26 years old followed by J-Hope (25), RM (24), Jimin (23), V (23) and Jungkook (21) under international age. In South Korea, age is computed differently.