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Yonhap/AP

South Korea prime minister resigns over Sewol ferry disaster

Slow pace of recovery and frequent government misinformation has flared tempers

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won announced his resignation on Sunday over the government's response to the April 16 ferry disaster.

The Sewol ferry sank on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional holiday island of Jeju. The government, along with almost all of its branches, has come under fierce criticism over the disaster and its handling of the rescue operation.

"Keeping my post is too great a burden on the administration," a somber Chung said in a brief announcement.

"I offer my apology for having been unable to prevent this accident from happening and unable to properly respond to it afterward. I believed I, as the prime minister, certainly had to take responsibility and resign."

Chung was booed and someone threw a water bottle at him when he visited grieving parents the day after the disaster. President Park Geun-hye, who has the most power in government, was booed by some of the relatives of the missing when she visited a gym where families of the missing were staying.

More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from one high school on a field trip, have died or are missing and presumed dead. The children were told to stay put in their cabins, where they waited for further orders. The confirmed death toll on Sunday was 187.

Tempers have frayed over the slow pace of the recovery and frequent changes in information provided by the government, including at one time by a local government that everyone had been rescued.

Wire services

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