President Park Geun-hye said Friday she plans to officially apologize again for the government's response to the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol amid criticism that an earlier apology was reluctant and not formal enough.
On Tuesday, Park said she was sorry about the way the government handled the disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing. But some families of victims found the apology insufficient and reluctant, saying she made the remarks while presiding over a Cabinet meeting.
Critics said she should have apologized in a separate setting.
"I think that it is my duty to apologize to the people and offer explanations after making the best efforts to search for the missing and build a proper (safety) system and put together alternatives," Park said during a meeting with religious leaders.
The remark means that she will formally apologize again after bringing the situation under control and take the opportunity to announce a package of measures to beef up the country's safety systems to prevent such accidents from happening again.
Park said she "acutely felt" the vulnerability of the government's disaster response system.
"We are making various efforts to build a safer society and make the right national disaster response system," she said.
Park said she feels devastated as president that so many lives were lost in the accident because it is a primary duty of the government to protect the lives of the people.
She also expressed concern about unconfirmed rumors about the government's handling of the sinking, saying they cause confusion and hurt the hearts of victims' families and other people. (Yonhap)