(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks by Moon, BTS member in paras 4-9; ADDS photos)
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in met with the members of BTS, a popular South Korean boy band, at his office Tuesday and awarded them the certificates of appointment as his special envoy for public diplomacy.
BTS will begin activities in earnest as the "special presidential envoy for future generations and culture" by attending an annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon is also scheduled to attend the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly. The president and the seven members of BTS plan to participate together in the second meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals Moment (SDG Moment) of the Decade of Action to be held on Monday. BTS will make a speech during the session, with a video clip of its performance played.
The president then had a conversation with them, also joined by first lady Kim Jung-sook.
According to Moon's spokesperson Park Kyung-mee in a press briefing, band member RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, said, "It's such an honor to be able to do something with this title as special presidential envoy for future generations and culture."
RM was quoted as saying that it is an honor to be given the opportunity, as he and other members have always thought about how to repay the love they have received.
Moon expressed his gratitude to BTS for "greatly enhancing the dignity of the Republic of Korea by raising the stature of K-pop and K-culture."
BTS is a topic raised many times at the start of dialogue in meetings with foreign leaders, which makes diplomatic activities "easier," Moon told them.
The first lady pointed out that BTS is playing a big role in spreading the Korean language abroad, with many foreigners learning Korean to understand the lyrics of its songs.
The SDG Moment is aimed at reinforcing the international community's efforts to achieve the SDGs, a blueprint for resolving pending global challenges, including poverty, hunger and the climate crisis.
"As BTS has delivered messages of comfort and hope to the entire world, its attendance at the U.N. General Assembly this time is expected to serve as a meaningful opportunity to expand communication with future generations around the world and draw their sympathy on major international issues," Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.
In July, Cheong Wa Dae announced Moon's decision to name BTS for the task.