South Korea's president bowed as she arrived at the podium and shook as she spoke. For nine minutes, she apologized, she expressed remorse, and she reached out for sympathy. In the face of nearly universal outrage among South Koreans, Park Geun-hye accepted full responsibility for an increasingly bizarre political scandal that threatens her presidency. She avoided the more damning allegations that her longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil, had influence beyond speeches and personal favors and perhaps had interfered with important government decisions on policy and personnel. But Park's apology Friday had a number of astonishing moments, observes the AP:
- "I am sorry to have caused huge disappointment. ... The work was pushed to help the national economy and the lives of people, but [I feel] miserable and terrible that specific individuals used it for personal profit and committed unlawful acts during the process."
- "She was a person who stood with me during the hardest moment in my life, so it's true that I lowered [my] guard and my sense of wariness. I put too much faith in a personal relationship and didn't look carefully at what was happening, and failed to be strict with the people around me."
- "Sad thoughts trouble my sleep at night. I realize that whatever I do, it will be difficult to mend the hearts of the people, and then I feel a sense of shame and ask myself, 'Is this the reason I became president?'"
As for Choi, who has been likened to a shaman and who is accused of using her ties to amass a fortune: "I deserve death."
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