South Korea’s prime minister has offered to resign over the ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.
Chung Hong-won also apologized to a country increasingly angry over the handling of the sinking and for lax regulatory enforcement that authorities say contributed to the accident.
The New York Times reported:
“A somber-looking Mr. Chung accepted the criticism on Sunday when he offered ‘an apology to the people’ during a nationally televised news conference. ‘When I saw the people’s sadness and fury, I thought it was natural for me to step down with an apology,’ he said.”
Power in the South Korean political system is held mainly by the president, Park Geun-hye, so this offer could be symbolic, the Associated Press reported. No word yet if Park will accept the resignation.
“Chung was heckled by relatives and his car was blocked when he visited a shelter on an island near the site of the sinking a week ago,” AP said.
The ferry Sewol sank off the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula April 16. Most of the 476 passengers were high school students on their way to a resort island.