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PM mourns victims of Sewol's sinking, pledges to make S. Korea safer place

All Headlines 16:41 April 16, 2018

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon pledged Monday that the government of President Moon Jae-in will do its utmost to make South Korea a safer place to live in, speaking at a memorial service for the people killed in a 2014 ferry sinking.

The 6,800-ton ferry Sewol sank in waters off the southwestern coast on April 16, 2014, killing 304 passengers and crew members, including 250 high school students on a school field trip, in one of South Korea's worst maritime tragedies ever.

The disaster revealed serious problems with South Korea's capabilities to respond to and handle such massive accidents and sparked public outrage and criticism that many lives could have been saved if the government of then-President Park Geun-hye had handled it better.

"The Sewol tragedy exposed shameful parts of the Republic of Korea in an undisguised manner and left a painful lesson. ... It awakened us to how much people can be made unhappy due to the incompetence and irresponsibility of the government," Lee said during the memorial service held in Ansan, the city south of Seoul where the students attended high school.

"The Moon Jae-in government will always remember the Sewol, will completely find out the truth (about what went wrong), and, while taking its lessons deeply to heart, will put in concerted efforts to make the Republic of Korea a safe place," he said.

The Sewol's sinking seriously eroded people's trust in Park's government, and she was ultimately impeached by the National Assembly and removed from office for involvement in a massive influence-peddling scandal.

Park was sentenced to 24 years in jail earlier this month.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon speaks during a memorial service for the victims of the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol at a park in Ansan, south of Seoul, on April 16. (Yonhap)

jschang@yna.co.kr
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