Park says she will cooperate with criminal investigation of her presidency
In a speech before the press televised live Friday, Park issued her second apology for the snowballing scandal involving Choi Soon-sil and key Blue House aides to the president.
“This entire situation is all my fault and it was caused by my carelessness,” Park said. “I truly feel my great responsibility.
“From now on, the prosecution must lay bare the truth and stern punishments must be handed down based on the investigation,” she continued. “I will faithfully submit to the prosecution’s investigation. I will also submit to an independent counsel investigation.”
Park will be the first president in the history of Korea to be investigated while in office.
She also declared that she will cut all personal ties from now on to prevent any similar scandals.
Park ended the press conference without taking any questions.
She issued her first apology on Oct. 25 for having allowed Choi to review and edit her speeches. But revelations that followed showed that Choi had far more influence than she should have, to the point of being a power behind the throne. Park’s terse — it lasted 90-second — and halfhearted apology provoked a public backlash, forcing her to make a second apology Friday.
Choi allegedly had access to top-secret national security documents, influenced personnel appointments in the administration, strong-armed conglomerates into donating to foundations and apparently was involved in major decisions. She was formally taken into custody by the prosecution this week for an investigation.
Since Sunday, Park had made several desperate attempts to salvage her sinking presidency. She appointed politicians with ties to liberal presidents of the past - of the other side of the political aisle from her conservative Saenuri Party - as her new prime minister and Blue House chief of staff.
That attempt to form a kind of national unity government backfired as she didn’t get the consent of the liberals in advance or allow them any input into whom she should hire, how strong their power would be, or how many liberals would get positions.
In the latest poll by Gallup Korea, announced ahead of the press conference Friday, Park’s approval rating nosedived to 5 percent, the lowest of all Korean presidents. During the 1997 foreign exchange crisis, then-President Kim Young-sam had a 6-percent approval rating.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]