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Foreign Policy Analysis
President Park pushes forward reform campaign amid continuing safety-related accidents

President Park pushes forward reform campaign amid continuing safety-related accidents

Government restructuring and new appointments
— all of these come in line with President Park Geun-hye’s pledge to push ahead with
reforms in the aftermath of the Sewol-ho ferry disaster.
But this latest spate of accidents… has again laid bare the country’s inadequate safety
management system… and it’s denting the president’s efforts.
Our correspondent Choi You-sun has more. The sinking of the Sewol-ho ferry on April
16th and the government’s insufficient management of the accident forced many to think about
problems and ill practices within the Korean society. “We have lost so many noble lives from this
tragedy. It’s our duty to reform and revolutionize our society so that their sacrifices are not
in vain.” On Tuesday, President Park emphasized the
need to increase efficiency and responsibility within the government, by appointing a new
deputy prime minister to look after areas outside the economy and security.
At a Cabinet meeting, the president said alongside the current deputy prime minister and finance
minister and the head of the national security office, the new deputy prime minister should
be given the task of overseeing the remaining issues, mainly related to education, society
and culture. Officials at the presidential office say the
new system reflects the president transferring more responsibilities to the executive branch,
with the prime minister in charge of law and order, public sector reforms and public safety,
and his deputies in charge of other areas. The Ministry of Security and Public Administration,
which came under fire for its lax response to the recent ferry accident, will have its
safety and personnel management roles transferred to new ministries under the Prime Minister’s
Office. And it’s anticipated the president will carry
out major reshuffles within the Cabinet and the presidential office after the June 4th
local elections. However, with news of other safety-related
accidents causing dozens of deaths this week it’s doubtful whether the president’s reform
measures will help assuage public anger at the government.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.

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