World / Asia-Pacific

S Korean PM resigns over govt response to ferry disaster

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-04-27 09:34

S Korean PM resigns over govt response to ferry disaster

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won bows after announcing his resignation at a news conference at the Integrated Government Building in Seoul April 27, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned on Sunday over criticism of the government's response to the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster that has left nearly 300 people dead or missing.

"The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign," Chung told a told a nationally-televised press conference, 11 days after the accident that is one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

"Keeping my post too great a burden on the administration," Chung said.

The prime minister apologized on behalf of the government for the deadly accident and its less-than-effective early response measures.

"There are too many irregularities and malpractices in parts of society that have been with us too long and I hope those are corrected so that accidents like this will not happen again."

Chung was hit by a water bottle thrown by angry families of the missing passengers the day after the disaster when he visited the gym on Jindo Island where friends and relatives of the passengers gathered.

The 6,825-ton Sewol sank on April 16 on its way from the port of Incheon, west of Seoul, to the holiday island of Jeju.

Over 180 people, most of them high school students who were on a field trip, have been confirmed dead, with more than 110 others still unaccounted for.

The government has come under fierce criticism over the unprecedented disaster and its mishandling of the rescue operation.

All 15 surviving crew members responsible for sailing the ferry have been in custody and face charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers.

Both South Korea's opposition party and ruling party have demanded that the whole cabinet resign for their poor response to the ferry disaster.

The resignation has to be approved by President Park Geun-hye.

S Korean PM resigns over govt response to ferry disaster  S Korean PM resigns over govt response to ferry disaster
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