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Pres. Park offers apology for government’s failures during ferry disaster

Pres. Park offers apology for government’s failures during ferry disaster

Posted April. 30, 2014 05:52,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00

한국어

President Park Geun-hye apologized to the public on Tuesday. She said, “(We) lost so many noble lives. I feel sorry to the people and my heart is heavy.” This is the president’s first apology made in 13 days after the outbreak of the accident and the fifth apology since her inauguration. She also directed the Cabinet to “develop fundamental and thorough safety measures for the people with an attitude of restructuring the nation.”

“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 during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The president also said, “It is so regretful that (we) have failed to clean up deep-ro0ted evils and let this kind of disaster happen… (I) should have made more efforts to normalize such bad habits and abnormal practices at the beginning of this administration, I feel regretful.” She defined the Sewol ferry disaster as a trial for the incident of the Korean ferry Seohae in 1993 and pointed out “the Sewol ferry accident proves that bad practices have been not corrected but deeply rooted and only makeshift measures have been implemented if necessary.” The president stressed that “in order to kick out the shameful words such as ‘bureaucratic mafia’ or ‘cheolbaptong’ (a term satirizing the unassailable job security of public servants), the deep-rooted evils of bureaucratic society should be completely found and eliminated.”

With regard to the need of a control tower for disasters and safety management, the president has vowed to “launch a ‘ministry on safety affairs’ (tentatively named) under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office in order to prevent confusions in the commanding system” and that “the ministry will limit the transfer of assigned people and become an organization of specialists by even considering the recruitment of foreign specialists.”

Before making her apology, she paid her respects to the victims of the ferry disaster during a visit to a funeral altar in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province.