President Park Geun-hye left a Parents' Day message on Facebook on Thursday, vowing to do her best to make South Korea a safer place to live in and to prevent accidents such as the sinking of the ferry Sewol from happening in the future.
"I am grateful to all parents who are raising children with sacrifice and devotion," Park said in the Facebook message. "I will put all energy into building a safe nation so that parents will no longer suffer such pains of losing children in the Sewol accident."
Park has repeatedly made the commitment to build a safer nation since the Sewol sank on April 16 in waters off the southwest coast with 476 people aboard. The sinking left 302 people dead or missing, most of them students from the same high school.
Park also apologized for the way the government handled the disaster amid criticism that more lives could have been saved if the initial response had been quicker and more systematic. The disaster also revealed serious lapses in the government's oversight of safety practices.
Park is believed to be weighing when and how to issue a more formal apology after criticism that an earlier apology was reluctant and not formal enough as she offered it in the middle of a Cabinet meeting, not in a separate, more formal setting.
Last week, she said she plans to 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. (Yonhap)