Koreans React to Park’s Pledge to Dismantle Coast Guard

On the 19th, President Park Geun-hye gave a nationally televised speech for 25 minutes addressing the problems revealed by the Sewol ferry accident and her plans to reform the nation.

The following English Yonhap article summarizes Park’s speech, during which she said:

  • She was ultimately responsible for the disaster
  • She would dismantle the Coast Guard
  • She wept while reciting the names of individuals who died trying to save passengers on the ship
  • She pledged to end the “bureaucratic mafia”, (the government-business collusion in safety agencies)

The full text of her speech in Korean can be found from here.

The following netizen comments are responses to articles focusing on the announcement that the Coast Guard would be disbanded.

Comments from Naver:

I sincerely support you. I want a clean Republic of Korea.


Dismantling the Coast Guard… That is a very strong move. It would’ve been better if she addressed the HR-related plans, too. I will keep an eye on that for a bit.


Let’s acknowledge what she does right.. Stop bashing her blindly..


It seem she has put out more concrete measures than any other former President would have?? If it were any of the former Presidents, he would’ve just made corny statements and been done with it.


Let’s not just blindly criticize. Let’s revive the nation for the betterment of all. From now on, I hope we unite and move on to become a true developed country with no corruption or accidents.


I hope President Park Geun-hye’s reforms will succeed.


All the parents in this country have already cried hundreds of times. I hope the tears you shed now result in revealing the truth and comforting the souls in the sea.


The biggest problem is those human garbage who keep changing their words and divide the public. Our country is too divided. Look at Gyeongsang-do and Jeolla-do going at each other. ㅡㅡ Please, let’s unite and overcome trouble together at a time like this.


Initially, the Coast Guard refused to reveal their communication log because they were afraid of the public resentment. But right before the local elections, they revealed the log and the government announced that the Coast Guard will be disbanded. I guess it was too much for the government to let the Coast Guard negatively affect the elections and they had to cut it out at the right time.

Comments from Daum:

So they are just changing the name to “National Safety Ministry”. What dismantling?


What about dismantling the Blue House?


So the President herself won’t resign?


This is the best conclusion they could come up with? It’s not even funny.


What kind of idiotic bullshit is this?


What is this? Are they trying to hide evidence? No investigation has been properly done yet.

President Park weeps during her May 19th speech to the nation.

President Park weeps during her May 19th speech to the nation.


Even if they dismantle the Coast Guard, the same people will be put in the new organization. Cheap trickery. They are just changing the name. So incompetent.


Wow, they are really dismantling it.. Park Geun-hye is scary..


Oh, this move is quite strong, no?


When I saw the silent protesters getting arrested over the weekend, I felt the government for the people has disappeared. You keep repeating the mistakes your father made. You are not the President in my heart.

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  • Boris

    As much as I would like to think those tears are real, she is a politician and they are liars. Crocodile tears.

    Now what she said about dismantling and the “bureaucratic mafia” – this needs to be done through every department and not just the coastgaurd because lets be honest, that isn’t the only area where there are “bureaucratic mafia” involved.

    • Sillian

      If you read the full article, the reform isn’t just about the coast guard.

      • Boris

        I should have read it, but seeing such fakeness really gets on my nerves.

        Sometimes emotion, no matter how little overrides logic or common sense.

    • Rincap

      It’s distinctly Korean to cry and be theatrical about it. North Koreans are made to do so every time one of the “leaders” kicks the bucket. Culturally, South Koreans are not much different.

      • Not just korean, but theatrical yes.
        The “bureaucratic mafia.” or the “Red tape front.”

  • Guest

    Interesting…read the summary of what she plans to do. I remain skeptical since I’m not sure how much of an improvement transferring various responsibilities to different organizations at this point. As well as whether or not she’d keep her promising about dealing with the “bureaucratic mafia.” I’d like to see a thorough investigation be done to see where the problems formed in regards to the ferry disaster before anything occurs first.

    • Jang

      Yes but ONLY in the safety arenas…”bureaucratic mafia in the government-business collusion in safety agencies”

      Sadly, she will fail even at that because it’s Koreans themselves who will have to – but fail at following through.

  • a country trying to find itself….lost in K-pop and plastic surgery

  • harvz

    An investigation seems like a better approach than dismantling and reconstructing the coast guard completely. The political arena is stupid right now.

    I’m in no way a fan of Park Geunhye, but some of her opposition are saying that she’s directly responsible for this sinking. Rather than use this situation to do some serious reflection on what needs to change, it looks like both sides just want blood and political mobility.

    • KCdude

      “but some of her opposition are saying that she’s directly responsible for this sinking.”

      In reality, the “Lee Myung-bak clique” or so-called most of the 50-60% of Saenuri Party members who oppose her is making it much much worse for her. The South Korean media of any political spectrum only shows you 1/4 of the domestic politics. But anyways, here’s the crucial part.

      Park Geun-Hye’s biggest mistake is her decision of maintaining close connection with her in-party members who in fact do not even support her in the long run. In other words, She is the conservative right-wing version of Roh Mu-hyeon, but much worse and especially under this exceptionally hard economic times.

      But of course. There’s a time when I’m absolutely happy that I’m not a South Korean.

  • Chucky3176

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Get rid of the coast guards and put them under the Korean National Police, while the emergency rescue will be handled by this mysterious new safety department. How does the police who work on land, know anything about the waters? Jesus Christ, she must have thought this up out of anger from all those criticisms from those whiners who all of a sudden are rescue experts. So now who’s taking care of the coastlines to fight against the marauding locust Chinese fishing boats? Nobody because now the hundreds of Chinese ships with deadly drag nets are docking right onto Korean shores unopposed, while they sweep clean the Korean waters of everything living. The environmental devastations that’s happening in Korean waters is going to be felt for generations to come, as the fish stocks deplete to nothing. And who’s going to help the Korean fishermen? Thank you Miss Park Geun Hye for giving in to public pressure and hastening and worsening the demise of the fishing industry. This is a sign that the Korean fishermen can’t just stand by and let the government mishandle this situation any further. It’s been high time for the fishermen to arm and organize themselves to fight the Chinese pirates to defend the fisheries, otherwise face extinction.

    • harvz

      This is the first thing I thought about. But good luck fighting Chinese poachers. They’ve proven time and again that they will attack law enforcement

    • Insomnicide

      You’re here to talk about the big bad Chinese people out to get you and invade your country again? Seriously? Comparing fishing to piracy?

      • Sillian

        I don’t know whether you are aware of the magnitude of the illegal fishing problem but it has been a very serious issue for the Korean coast guard. It’s not something you can brush off like that.

        • Insomnicide

          And South Koreans don’t commit illegal fishing? Chinese fisherman illegally fishing justifies his continuous derogatory and racist rhetoric somehow?

          • Sillian

            And South Koreans don’t commit illegal fishing?

            So you aren’t familiar with this issue.

            Chinese fisherman illegally fishing justifies his continuous derogatory and racist rhetoric somehow?

            I think he’s just talking about the illegal fishermen. I cannot have much sympathy for them when they resist law enforcement violently. The coast guard who has been dealing with them will be dismantled. So it is a relevant concern about who’s going to take over the job.

          • Chucky3176

            Correct. The Chinese illegal fishing problem indirectly lead to the coast guards’s problems with the Sewol. Think about this for a minute. Which coast guards first arrived at the scene of the accident? The coast guard ships which were active fighting against the Chinese ships around the southern sea, near the Mokpo area, were the first ones to the scene. Hours before they arrived at the Sewol accident scene, they were exhausted from chasing after the 200 Chinese fishing boats that were active in that southern area for number of days. So what we’re seeing here is that instead of spending budgets and training on coast guards who can effectively carry out rescues on the high seas, Korea is pouring all the concentration and money on fighting and defending against Chinese ships. The problem with illegal fishers from China has everything to do with the ineffective coast guards. Instead of getting rid of them, Korea should have boosted them so that there would be two different sub-branches of the coast guards – one branch strictly rescues and disaster recoveries, while the other branch strictly deal with security. We are asking simply too much from the coast guards, who have their hands full with dealing with the 700 to 1000 Chinese fishing boats that invade Korea EVERY SINGLE DAY. How can one single coast guard branch handle both security and rescues, at the same time without negatively effecting one duty over another?

          • chosenjin

            koreans like to whinge when others come fish near their EEZ and claim over fishing and what not. But have no gripes about overfishing their own EEZ and selling them to others for profit. bunch of dirty hypocrite monkeys.

          • coreanumber1

            Yes, because its inconceivable that koreans can ever be incompetent, so it must be evil foreigners fault

          • Chucky3176

            Read this disgusting report. Basically, there’s no one now there to stop them, until all this sorts out (but for how long, while the whole thing goes to hell and the Korean fishing industry completely destroyed?).


          • Insomnicide

            You can google about illegal fishing by South Koreans these days. You’ve completely ignored that.

            I hoped he was just talking about illegal fisherman, but using derogatory terms like locusts, a well known racial slur against Han Chinese, it seems otherwise. And the fact that he’s been copypasting these texts onto various other article comment sections across the site.

          • Sillian

            I don’t think South Korean fishermen physically challenge foreign law enforcement when they get caught overfishing. Recently, the Korean government set up a new monitoring center to curb their own fishermen’s deep sea overfishing better.

            I can see that you are mostly annoyed by chucky’s aggressive language. While I agree that he could’ve worded his comment less aggressively, I just wanted to let you know that the problem itself creates a legitimate concern.

          • Chucky3176

            Where have I used any racial slurs against the Han Chinese?

            I’m talking about the illegal fishermen who are acting like locusts. They come in huge numbers (like locusts) so that they can’t be managed. They devastate the Korea’s seas by catching anything and everything with huge illegal drag nets, then they leave for other areas (like locusts pests which eat up everything in their paths). It’s not once, twice, or three times, this happens EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR YEARS without any let up. They use weapons to kill and wound the coast guards. Five thousand Chinese fishing boats have been impounded and penalized by Korea in ten years. These are the tiny fraction of boats that are caught, the vast majority are not caught. I’m talking about that now the coast guards are no longer an organization, the problem is getting much worse.

            I’m not surprised why you would try to downplay this problem. Just look at the way the Chinese press report the problem, as if the Chinese fishermen are the victims.


          • Rutim

            Relax chucky. Remember what Chinese FA minister said on his recent visit to Seoul? That THEY chose South Korea as the more close partner from now on? Fishing in South Korean waters is only a part of the new ‘closer’ friendship!

          • bang2tang


          • Chucky3176

            I’m telling it like it is. They are pirates acting like locusts because they come everyday, and steal our resources wiping out entire species of fish and marine life, violently attack our coast guards who are trying to stop the Chinese without resorting to shootings. Hundreds of Chinese ships invade Korea day in and day out, many of them docking right on Korean land without any fear because there’s no-one there to stop them. Chinese aren’t the only ones who does illegal fishing, but no other country does it in the same level of scale and no other country’s illegal fishing forces attack other country’s coast guards with deadly weapons, like China’s does.


          • CK7

            Just wow!
            I’ve read about these notorious Chinese illegal fishermen. I didn’t know it was this bad.
            Just blow few of these these illegal boats out of the water, that sends a message and those who trespass to steal fish will never come back. But doing that would create problems with China. Obviously China doesn’t care about their fishing pirates illegally scooping up the fish/crabs in S. Korea territory since their resources were depleted due to over fishing. But if they get hurt by S. Korean patrols, then you’ll never hear the end of it from China and their citizens.
            S. Korea needs to do something before the resources are depleted. Theres’s a reason why these Chinese fish pirates don’t trespass into N. Korean or Russian waters, well….. they would be shot up.

          • Insomnicide

            If you’d report the situation as it is, i’d have no problem with it. But using derogatory terms like locust and exaggerating the situation to ‘Chinese ships invading Korea’, and copypasting this everywhere isn’t the way to do things.

            Could you at least give me some source for attacking coast guards with deadly weapons and statistics regarding the amount of Chinese fishing vessels that come to Korean waters?

    • blamegame

      Maybe you can blame the jews next

    • kimchi

      what a load of BS. this is one of those retarded cause/effect argument akin to saying 100% of murdererss drinks water, therefore water makes murderers. to boil a complex issue such as this down to a single cause shows that you are simply trying to find an excuse to air out your disgusting racist slurs.

    • Nishi Hundan

      Quit eating so much fish. It makes your farts stink.

  • Knee jerk reaction, bureaucratic mafia. Yes, prime minister.

    Too little too late.
    The system has been in place long before the minister came to power .

  • I love K-POP!

  • Truck Furniture Maker

    Everybody calm down we have changed totally changed the name of firing people to fun fun umbrella time. Now everything is totally okay!

  • KCdude

    But “bureaucratic mafias”? No offense, but is South Korea turning into a Communist country?

    • Sillian

      What do you mean?

      • KCdude

        Bureaucrats acting like thugs are very common among Communist countries. This is a typical characteristics of a Communist country that is rare among democratic countries. Thus it’s much easier to assume that South Korea is a Communist country, at least for an average Canadian like me.

        North Korea is not that different from South Korea anyways.

        • Sillian

          Government-business collusion is rare among democratic countries? Does the US look like a communist country to you?

          • KCdude

            “Does the US look like a communist country to you?”

            Of course. Here’s a rule of thumb.

            Republicanism = Communism

            Long live the monarchy!

  • karma

    such useless actions cannot deter justice and divine retribution on you people. only genuine reflection will. You Koreans better get your act together or karma will it you again.

  • goldengluvsk2

    hul.. those tears… you can tell the elections are nearing… just seeing that picture is such aturn off to read what she plans to do. Less crying and more action is needed. Its been more than a month and I just wish she could give her people the proper investigation they have been asking for since Day 1… moving people from one institution to the other wont change anything unless theyre properly trained or even better, get new qualified people to do the job.

    • tomoe723

      lol yeah.. those tears in the photograph look so fake. it’s like eyedropper tears. a crying eye has bloated eyebags and red/bloodshot eyes usually.

      and this bulls eye comment: “What is this? Are they trying to hide evidence? No investigation has been properly done yet.”

      coast guard is dismantled yet wasn’t the ferry business responsible? if she wants to dismantle an agency, she should dismantle the entire port authority, not only the coast guard. coast guard isn’t even remotely involved in the politics of port authority/customs. coast guard is just another military branch/lap dog. i guess something has to be the scapegoat.

  • 8675309

    Actually, Korea never had a “Coast Guard.” The so-called Coast Guard that failed to rescue some 300 students aboard the Sewol-Ho in April was not even a real “Coast Guard” by any stretch of the imagination, and the usage of the term English-language term “Coast Guard” to describe their organization is only an approximate albeit an extremely loose translation of its actual name, “해양경찰,” which literally translates to “Maritime/Marine Police.”

    Add to that the fact that Korea’s maritime marine police never really functioned as a Coast Guard to begin with as it was actually under the jurisdiction and control of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries, or what is now called (as of a 2008 name change) the “Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries” (MOF) or 해양수산부 in Korean.

    Basically, they were the enforcement arm of commercial fishing tasked with patrolling and enforcing Korea’s commercial fishing lanes from foreign intruders, namely Chinese commercial fishermen.

    So how a commercial fishing code enforcement agency gets roped into being a Coast Guard was beyond them, and anyone else privy to the matter for that matter.

    However, in the absence of a real coast guard, these guys were acting as a de facto maritime search-and-rescue agency, i.e., a Coast Guard, and were apparently receiving a budget that could’ve easily accomplished this mission through proper management, allocation and training.

    The fact is that they didn’t carry out what was implicitly expected of them and squandered not only public funds, but also the public trust during this tragedy, is reason enough to believe this was a failed and hopeless agency, which from a public interest point of view, has no good reason to continue existing for now and the near future.

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