Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon has proposed allowing members of K-pop supergroup BTS to replace their military duties with alternative service as public relations ambassadors for the city’s bid to host World Expo 2030. authorities said Thursday.

The government formally appointed the septet last month as public relations ambassador in charge of promoting the Expo bid, for which Busan is competing with cities in Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Mayor Park recently made the proposal asking the presidential office to grant BTS the alternative military service benefit currently available to athletes and entertainers who helped raise national prestige or cultural advancement, according to officials.

The mayor hopes an aggressive promotional push from BTS will give the city a competitive advantage in the increasingly fierce competition to host Expo 2030.

“If BTS is allowed alternative military service, its members will be assigned national duties as heavy as military service and will serve the nation in their unique capacity,” Park said.

Under an agreement signed between Busan and BTS’s management firm Hybe in June, BTS will guide officials from the Bureau of International Exhibitions (IBE) during on-site inspections scheduled for next year, make presentations at a BIE general assembly and will participate in the final meeting. assembly when the BIE announces the host city next year.

Keep reading