The prime minister will remain in office until the ferry accident is under control.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has resigned over his government’s handling of the sinking of a passenger ferry that killed more than 100 people and left more than 300 missing.
He apologized for not preventing the tragedy and for not being able to respond properly to it, saying that the “cries of the families of those missing still keep me up at night”.
Mr Chung will stay in his post until the disaster is under control.
“I offer my apology for having been unable to prevent this accident from happening and unable to properly respond to it afterwards,” he said.
“I believed I, as the prime minister, certainly had to take responsibility and resign.”
President Park Geun-hye accepted her prime minister’s resignation. The PM would leave his post once the ferry disaster was under control, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported
The Sewol passenger ferry, capsized April 16 with 476 people on board. Many of the passengers were schoolchildren.
The confirmed death toll from the tragedy stood Sunday at 187, with 115 unaccounted for.
All 15 surviving crew members responsible for sailing the vessel are now in custody and face charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers.
The government has been severely criticised over its handling of the rescue operation.
The prime minister said the right thing “for me to do is to take responsibility and resign as a person who is in charge of the cabinet.”
He added: “There have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong. I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again.”
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