World News

South Korea President Accepts PM's Resignation

(new lede, 3))

South Korean President Geun-hye's office says she will accept her prime minister's resignation, but not until the Sewol ferry disaster has been brought under control.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offered his resignation earlier Sunday, following a public uproar over his government's response to the April 16 ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

A somber-looking Mr. Chung announced his resignation in a brief televised address Sunday morning, saying "keeping my post is too great a burden on the administration." The prime minister's position in South Korea is largely ceremonial, with the president wielding most of the power.

The 6,800-ton ferry Sewol was carrying hundreds of students and teachers on a field trip to the southwest island of Jeju when it capsized and sank.

The disaster shocked and angered South Korea, with widespread criticism directed at the ship's crew for abandoning the vessel before an evacuation was fully under way.

In his resignation announcement, the prime minister said he wanted to quit earlier but that overseeing rescue and recovery efforts were the first priorities, and that he wanted to help before leaving office.

###

VOA Exclusive

Virologist Spencer Stonier works with Ebola samples in a maximum danger bio-safety laboratory at USAMRIID in Fort Detrick, Maryland, December 11, 2014.

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More