South Korean singer Xiumin of the boy band EXO has taken a leave from his military service ahead of his discharge next month and will no longer return to camp in line with COVID-19 protocols, K-pop entertainment news site Soompi reported Monday.
With his official discharge on December 6, the 30-year-old Xiumin, whose real name is Kim Minseok, will be the first member of the popular K-pop group to complete his military duties.
“Xiumin is currently on final leave and will be discharged on December 6 without returning to the base. This is in accordance with instructions aimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There will be no separate discharge event,” SM Entertainment, the singer’s talent agency, said in a statement translated in the Soompi report.
The news surrounding Xiumin sent Filipino social media users abuzz, with “Minseok” topping the list of Philippine trends on Twitter.
Xiumin started his military service on May 7, 2019 as an active-duty soldier.
Other EXO members currently performing their mandatory military service are Suho, Chen, D.O. Meanwhile, members Baekhyun, Chanyeol, Kai and Sehun have yet to enlist.
The group debuted in 2012 as a 12-member act. Three of the 4 Chinese members have since departed.
By law, all able-bodied men in South Korea aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for roughly two years as part of the country's defenses against North Korea.