President Park addresses nation on ferry disasterUpdated: 2014-05-20 03:34:15 KST
"I, as president, take full responsibility for failing to rightfully respond to the ferry accident."
For the first time since the Sewol-ho ferry accident last month, President Park directly apologized to the nation.
It came amid criticism of her previous apologies, as many people felt she wasn't taking full responsibility as the head of state.
Saying that the Coast Guard had failed to fulfill its duties in swiftly attending to the passengers of the sinking ferry, President Park said she was dissolving the organization.
"A new national safety ministry will integrate all safety-related organizations and unite the command system to respond on-site to all types of emergencies, be they on land or in the sea."
President Park also talked about cutting off ties between the public sector and private entities.
Claims of cronyism between the two have been blamed for the government's insufficient and lax handling of the disaster.
She suggested tripling the number of public organizations and affiliates that are barred from employing retired public employees and extending the period after which retired workers can return to the workforce.
Regarding the punishment of those linked to the ferry disaster, the president seemingly took account of what the victims' families requested during a meeting at the presidential office last week.
"If necessary, a special probe should be launched to get to the bottom of the accident and to punish those found responsible. I also propose a special law to set up a probe committee that includes members of the ruling and the opposition parties, as well as civilians."
"As she read the names of some of the ferry victims, President Park said she will not leave their deaths in vain, and designate April 16th, the day of the ferry sinking as a day to remember their sacrifices.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News."
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