South Korea’s President on the Ferry Disaster: ‘The ultimate responsibility. . .incident is mine.’

by Greg Pollowitz

South Korea’s president announced plans Monday to disband the coast guard and root out corruption and collusion between regulators and shipping companies that furious citizens believe led to a ferry disaster last month that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

President Park Geun-hye’s first televised address to the nation since the April 16 sinking began with a deep bow and ended with her tearfully reading the names of passengers and crew who died trying to save others. With her approval ratings plummeting ahead of mayoral and governor elections in about two weeks, the speech sought to acknowledge widespread anger over government failures as well as chart a path forward.

Most of the victims were students from a single high school near Seoul who were traveling to the southern tourist island of Jeju.

“We failed to rescue students who we could have saved,” Park said. “The ultimate responsibility for not properly dealing with this incident is mine.”. . .