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Moon calls for thorough reform of Coast Guard

2017/09/13 14:36

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SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday the Coast Guard should revamp itself to regain public trust after mishandling the deadly 2014 ferry sinking that claimed the lives of more than 300 people.

President Moon Jae-in delivers an address during a Coast Guard anniversary ceremony in Incheon on Sept. 13, 2017. (Yonhap) President Moon Jae-in delivers an address during a Coast Guard anniversary ceremony in Incheon on Sept. 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

Moon made the remarks during a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the establishment of the Coast Guard, formerly known as the Maritime Police Agency, saying the agency should take the sinking of the ferry Sewol as an "eternal lesson" and carry out deep reforms.

At the time of the disaster, the Coast Guard came under intense fire for bungling its initial response as the massive ferry carrying a total of 467 people sank off the south coast, leaving 299 dead and five others missing.

Public anger was so high that former President Park Geun-hye even dismantled the Coast Guard, giving its duties to other ministries and agencies. The Coast Guard got its name and status back in July after Moon took office.

"Three years ago, the Coast Guard suffered the pain of organizational dismantling because of the disappointing attitude it showed during the Sewol disaster," Moon said. "People gave it a second chance. It should be reborn as an agency thinking only about the lives and safety of the people."

  

Moon said the agency should look thoroughly into what went wrong during the disaster so as to identify problems and find fundamental solutions.

"Through these efforts," he said, "I believe and anticipate the Coast Guard will stand tall as a reliable agency charged with preventing all disasters that happen at sea and rescuing people effectively."

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