President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday she will soon issue a statement to the nation about how the government will upgrade the country's safety and emergency response system in the wake of the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol.
Park made the remark as she opened a Cabinet meeting aimed at discussing key issues to be included in the statement she plans to make to apologize for the government mishandling the ferry's sinking and to announce reform measures for the country's safety system.
"I hope intensive discussions will take place in today's Cabinet meeting ... about how to establish the national disaster safety system," she said. "We have collected many opinions so far.
Based on what we have reviewed and studied, we plan to announce a statement to the nation in the near future."
Park has repeatedly pledged to make South Korea a safer nation since the Sewol sank on April 16 in waters off the southwest coast with 476 people on board. The sinking left 304 people dead or missing, most of them students from the same high school.
She has 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. (Yonhap)