|Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said on Wednesday that he will assume full responsibility
for rejected Sejong city bill in a nationwide televised news conference.[YONHAP]
Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said Wednesday he will assume full responsibility for the government's failure to have its revised bill on the Sejong City project pass the National Assembly, but did not specify whether he would resign.
The parliament, where the ruling party holds a majority, on Tuesday voted down the bill that would have built a science and technology hub in the southern city instead of the initially planned administrative town.
Chung has since been under mounting pressure from opposition parties to step down as a leading preacher of the revised plan.
"I will take full responsibility as the person in charge of designing the revision for failing to achieve its passage," Chung said in a nationwide televised news conference. "Public opinion should not be divided any longer over the issue, and I hope all controversy and feud will end."
Chung, however, did not say whether he would resign or stay on.
Officials at his office said the prime minister does not plan to step down immediately.
"I'm regretful but respect the decision of the Assembly and will do my best to make Sejong City a good city as envisioned," he added.
Initiated by former President Roh Moo-hyun as an election campaign pledge in 2002, the Sejong City project calls for the construction of an administrative town in South Chungcheong Province, about 150 kilometers south of Seoul, to house nine ministries and four government agencies.
Since last September, however, the Lee Myung-bak government and his supporters at the ruling GNP have pushed to scrap the plan and instead build a science and technology town there, insisting that the relocation would only cause administrative inefficiency by creating a second capital.
A major reshuffle of the Cabinet, including the prime minister, and the ruling Grand National Party has long been anticipated after the party's biting defeat in June 2 local elections to the opposition bloc.