President Park Geun-hye on Friday apologised to the families of the ferry disaster victims for the "insufficient" government response to the tragedy and vowed to conduct a complete revamp of the country's social safety system.
"I believe that in order not to let the sacrifices of the victims be in vain, the government should shore up the foundation of the social safety system, and carry out reform to the extent that it can be seen as a complete overhaul of the entire national system," she said.
"As we have solicited opinions from experts from various sectors of our society, we have been trying to craft measures to reform the safety system, public officialdom and other areas. But I believe that your thoughts are the most important."
Park met with 17 representatives of the bereaved families at Cheong Wa Dae after she suggested the meeting to consult with them over how to reform the safety management framework in the wake of the disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.
Park apologised for the flawed handling of the disaster for the third time as well.
The families urged the president to do her utmost to make the sacrifices of their sons and daughters valuable for the advancement of society and to prevent the recurrence of such a man-made disaster.
"Our despair has turned into outrage due to the poor handling of the disaster," said one of the family representatives. "It is the responsibility of the president and government to make the (sacrifices) of the victims including our children valuable and noble, and remain in our history."