South Korea's prime minister offered to resign on Sunday, taking responsibility for the government's handling of the ferry sinking that has left 302 people, mostly students, either dead or missing.

The AP reports that Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said President Park Geun-hye would accept Chung Hong-won's resignation, but did not reveal when Chung would leave office.

The government has been heavily criticized by the victims' relatives for its slow response to the crisis and for its mishandling of the rescue operation's early stages. Chung Hong-won accepted this criticism, offered an apology, and explained the reasoning behind his resignation during a nationally televised news conference in front of reporters in Seoul. Here is the transcript from the AP:

"As I saw grieving families suffering with the pain of losing their loved ones and the sadness and resentment of the public, I thought I should take all responsibility as prime minister," Chung said. "There have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong. I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again."

[Image credit: AP]