World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korea's leadership crisis continued Friday, as President Park Geun-hye's office moved to dismiss "malicious" rumors about her.
The Blue House rejected local reports that Park received cosmetic treatment April 16, 2014 -- the day more than 300 people were killed in one of the country’s worst ever maritime disasters.
"The continuing allegations that Park underwent plastic surgery on the day the ferry Sewol sank are totally groundless rumors," presidential spokesperson Jung Youn-kuk said at a briefing.
He also warned that such reports could be libelous -- a Japanese journalist was cleared last year of defaming the president after repeating earlier claims about Park’s whereabouts during a seven-hour period of alleged absence when the Sewol tragedy was unraveling.
Jung insisted the president was briefed multiple times on the day of the disaster and that there were no visits by outsiders.
The official response to the Sewol’s sinking, including a flawed rescue effort, prompted widespread criticisms of the Park administration.
Having taken office in 2013, the president’s term is not set to end until 2018.
However, Park's approval rating with Gallup Korea has been down at a record-low five percent for two consecutive weeks over recent power abuse allegations involving several aides and a private confidante.
While she is yet to come under investigation personally, Park is the subject of persistent calls to step down.
Organizers of a protest scheduled to be held in Seoul this Saturday evening are expecting as many as a million participants.
The event could dwarf last weekend’s mass demonstration of up to 200,000 people in the capital.
Last Mod: 11 Kasım 2016, 10:21