South Korea President Takes Responsibility for Ferry Disaster - The New Indian Express

South Korea President Takes Responsibility for Ferry Disaster

Published: 19th May 2014 08:46 AM

Last Updated: 19th May 2014 08:47 AM

SEOUL: South Korean President Park Geun-Hye took personal responsibility today for her government's handling of the Sewol ferry disaster and announced that the widely criticised national coastguard would be dismantled.

"As the president responsible for the lives and safety of South Koreans, I offer my sincere apology for all the suffering inflicted upon the people," Park said in a televised address to the nation.

"The ultimate responsibility of the poor response to this accident lies with me," she said, before bowing deeply to the television cameras.

Park's popularity ratings have been hammered by the April 16 disaster that claimed around 300 lives, most of them schoolchildren.

She has voiced reg ret several times, but today's apologywas the first in which she accepted direct responsibility.

In her address, she also underlined the failure of the coastguard's immediate response to the tragedy, and acknowledged the complaints of the victims' relatives that many more lives might have been saved.

"I have decided to dismantle the coastguard," she said, adding that its investigative activities would be taken up by the police and its maritime patrol operations will be handed over to a newly created ministry of national safety.

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