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South Korea’s new president apologizes for political deadlock

AFP-JIJI

President Park Geun Hye publicly apologized Monday for a political deadlock blocking the formation of her government at a time of heightened nuclear tension with North Korea.

Since being sworn in a week ago, Park has had to work without a functioning Cabinet because of opposition to her government restructuring plans that have affected parliamentary confirmation of her ministerial nominees.

“I’m very sorry for causing anxiety to the people,” Park said in a live television address.

The focus of the deadlock is Park’s bill to reorganize the government structure, creating new ministries and offices, and reallocating responsibilities.

One of the bill’s flagship proposals will set up a Future Creation and Science Ministry to spearhead Park’s vision of a new “creative economy” that moves beyond the country’s traditional manufacturing base.

But opposition parties have rejected plans for the new ministry to take over broadcast policy-setting rights, currently handled by an independent state watchdog. Park’s address came shortly after her nominee to head the ministry stepped down in apparent frustration at the impasse.