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South Korea Prime Minister Offers Resignation in Sunken Ferry Debacle

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South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has announced his resignation, 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, after bowing to a group of South Korean reporters. He said "keeping my post is too great a burden on the administration."

However, the resignation has to be approved by President Park Geun-hye before it becomes effective. Ms. Park, who has the most power in government, has yet to take action on the resignation.

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 sunk.

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.

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