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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
South Korea's Kim sorry over scandals
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung
President Kim has pledged to wipe out corruption

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung has broken his silence over a series of political scandals which are said to involve his sons and apologised to the nation.

South Korean women dressed as a cheerleader
The storm has dominated headlines only weeks before the World Cup
In a statement issued by his presidential spokeswoman, President Kim said he felt great anguish and was sorry for what he termed "troubles" involving his sons.

President Kim's apology to the nation for the controversies surrounding his sons is an attempt to calm what has become an increasingly heated political atmosphere.

The cases, involving influence peddling by businessmen who are under arrest, and their alleged links to the president's sons, have become headline news in a year in which local and presidential elections are taking place.

The government has been hit by a series of corruption scandals and South Koreans have become increasingly disenchanted by their politicians.

New party

Park Geun-hye, daughter of South Korea's former military ruler Park Chung-hee, has announced she is forming a new political party, the Korean Coalition for the Future, which will promote democracy, transparency and clean politics.

"There is a lot of distrust towards the Korean politics now and I'd like to begin a new politics so that people can have trust and hope in politics. So that's the reason for formation of the new party," she explained.

She is still keeping people guessing as to whether she will stand as a presidential candidate.

Many of her supporters admit nostalgia for her father, who ruled the country with an iron fist for almost 20 years, steering it from poverty to one of the world's largest economies.

President Kim is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term in office. But there are worries that the latest political scandals could affect his party's showings in the opinion polls.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
29 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
14 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
10 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
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