K-pop superstars BTS received South Korea's prestigious Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit medals at a ceremony on Wednesday (24Oct18).

The boyband, who have become international stars over the past two years, were honoured as one of their homeland's greatest cultural exports at an event in the country's capital Seoul, and thanked their fans for their support after receiving their medals.

Group members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are the youngest Koreans to earn the prestigious accolade.

Announcing his government's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's plans to honour the group earlier this month, South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon told United Press International: "BTS has made a great contribution to promoting not only Korean culture but also Korean language Hangul as many of its fans sing along BTS songs in the Korean language."

Presidential office spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom added: "The government decided to award members of BTS a Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit for their contribution to spreading Korean culture overseas and promotion of popular culture."

Order of Cultural Merit awards are given to those deemed to have served the country well in culture and the arts. They come in five levels, with BTS receiving the lowest level honour.

Previous recipients of the medals include Gangnam Style rapper Psy and Oldboy director Park Chan-wook.

The group recently arrived back to their home nation after playing to sell out crowds in North America and Europe. They will enjoy a short break before continuing their Love Yourself world tour in Japan next month.

The medals are not the only gong they have scooped over the past week; they were double winners at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards in London on Sunday.

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