15 Sep 2021, 09:50

BTS issued diplomatic passports for UN session

  SEOUL, Sept 15, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - K-pop sensation BTS have been granted
diplomatic passports ahead of the United Nations General Assembly as they
embark on their new roles as presidential special envoys, South Korea's
presidential office said.

  The trailblazing septet have reached global superstardom, with their single
"Dynamite" entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number one last year, making
them the first South Korean act to top the US chart.

  They are credited with generating billions for the South Korean economy,
and last year their label HYBE made a high-profile stock market debut.

  Now Seoul is looking to capitalise on the soft power they represent, with
President Moon Jae-in appointing them as his special envoys for future
generations and culture.

  "It is a great honour to receive this title," BTS leader RM said at a Blue
House ceremony Tuesday to present them with their red-covered diplomatic
passports -- ordinary South Korean passports are green.

  Moon told the members that many foreign leaders he meets break the ice by
talking about them.

  While on official business, they will enjoy privileges such as diplomatic
immunity and exemption from airport inspections.

  As special envoys, the group will deliver a speech during the Sustainable
Development Goals Moment on Monday, ahead of the UN General Assembly, and a
performance video will be played.

  RM previously delivered an English-language speech on self-empowerment
entitled "Speak Yourself" to the UNGA in 2018.

  Many reacted positively to BTS' new role, noting their impact on the
South's international standing.

  "Thanks to BTS, the national image of South Korea has been greatly
enhanced," said a commentator on Daum, the South's second-largest web portal.

  "They have done more work than hundreds of diplomats combined."


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