The group is set to attend a meeting on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all U.N. member states in 2015.
At the U.N. session, BTS will give a speech and preview a video performance. The group is expected to expand communication with younger generations, the Korean government announced.
Moon said Tuesday that the United Nations had asked if BTS, on behalf of global youth, could accompany him to this year’s General Assembly. “That itself shows the enhanced global stature of South Korea,” he said in a statement, the Korea Herald reported.
Along with their new passports, the singers received letters of appointment and a gift of fountain pens Tuesday.
Some world leaders have “even asked if we could invite BTS to hold a K-pop night when they make [a] state visit,” Moon said at the ceremony, according to the Korea Herald. “As such, you have been of great help diplomatically.”
“Our generation had studied English listening to pop songs, but now the global audience is learning Korean to understand BTS songs,” first lady Kim Jung-sook said.
Moon fist-bumped each member of the group.
South Korea has emphasized the role of K-pop in burnishing its national image, even going so far as to delay mandatory military service for some male K-pop stars, under a revision of the country’s Military Service Act known as the “BTS law.”
BTS has appeared at the U.N. General Assembly before. In 2018, one of the members delivered a speech at the launch of UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited program. During the General Assembly last year, the group issued a video message to youth encouraging them to persevere and dream big despite the pandemic.
“We always thought about whether we could repay all the love we have received and give back at the same time, and we are honored that the president has given us such a great opportunity and [we] will work hard as special envoys,” said BTS member Kim Nam-Joon, better known as RM, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.
Celebrity diplomats have a long history of appearing at or working with the U.N. Angelina Jolie helped promote the plight of internally displaced people in Burkina Faso as a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency in June. Liam Neeson spoke with Syrian children in Jordan in 2016 as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Actor Emma Watson was appointed a goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women in 2014.