South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologised to the public for the government's failures during the Sewol ferry disaster, which left more than 300 dead or missing.
“(We) lost so many noble lives. ... I feel sorry to the people,” she said during a weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday.
“I (wish) to express my deepest sorrow to the families, relatives and friends of the victims. … I don’t know how to say sorry for failing to prevent (the disaster) and for the poor initial response and follow-up measures,” she said.
She made her apology an hour after she paid her respects to the victims of the ferry sinking during a visit to a funeral altar in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. Ansan is home to Danwon High School, which lost about 260 students and teachers in the disaster.
During the meeting the president also vowed to tighten discipline among government officials and break the chain of collusive ties between officials and industry.
She also proposed to launch a new ministry under the Prime Minister’s Office to supervise safety affairs to prevent and better deal with disasters in the future.
President Park Geun-hye pays tribute at the government's official joint memorial altar for the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol at Ansan Hwarang Park in Ansan, south of Seoul, on Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)