File photo taken on May 30, 2013 shows South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won address the Jeju forum on Jeju island, South Korea. Chung Hong-won resigned on Sunday over the government's response to the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster that has left nearly 300 people dead or missing. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)
SEOUL, April 27 (Xinhua) -- South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offers resignation 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 nationally-televised press conference, 11 days after one of the country's worst maritime disasters.
"Keeping my post is too great a burden on the administration," Chung said.
South Korea's presidential office later said President Park Geun-hye will accept the prime minister's resignation offer, but will wait until the disaster has been brought under control as rescue operation and dealing with the aftermath of the accident were the most urgent issue at present.
"President Park has decided to accept the resignation offer from Chung, who has taken responsibility for this incident," presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said at a press conference.
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.
Ahn Cheol-soo, the co-leader of South Korea's main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, criticized Chung's resignation offer was "an irresponsible act" and "a cowardly attempt to evade the situation."
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Chung's resignation offer has renewed speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle to appease public anger and give the Park Geun-hye administration fresh impetus.
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.
JINDO, South Korea, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Corridors and passenger cabins of the sunken South Korean ferry, which capsized off the country's southwestern coast, were jammed with floating objects, hampering search for bodies trapped inside the hull amid fast currents and bad weather.
As of Saturday night, 187 people have been confirmed dead, and 115 others remained missing. No one has been found alive since 174 passengers and crew were rescued on April 16 when the ferry sank en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from western port of Inchon. Full story
JINDO, South Korea, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Death toll in the South Korea ferry sinking disaster continued to rise to 187 Saturday morning, but search operations slowed amid faster tidal currents and worse weather.
Only two more bodies were recovered from the sunken vessel overnight, raising the death toll to 187. A total of 115 people was still missing, with the number of those rescued remaining unchanged at 174 since the first day of the deadly sinking incident. Full story
JINDO, South Korea, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese embassy said Friday that rescuers recovered the body of a fourth Chinese passenger, identified as a high school girl, after South Korean ferry Sewol with 476 people aboard capsized and sank off Jindo Island on April 16.
A total of four Chinese nationals were on board the ill-fated ship en route from the western port city of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju. And the embassy has confirmed the death of the other three -- two men and a woman -- since search and rescue operation began nine days ago. Full story