S. Korea's president apologizes
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday delivered his second apology in a month over his handling of plans to resume U.S. beef imports, reported CNN.
His administration has been embroiled in controversy since reaching an agreement with Washington in April to allow U.S. beef back after a five-year ban imposed amid concerns of mad cow disease.
He was also to express his government's determination to guarantee the safety of U.S. beef imports.
Lee's first apology came on May 22 after the announcement of the resumption of U.S. beef imports met a wave of protests.
"I admit that the government has been lacking in efforts to sound out public opinion and try to seek people's understanding," he said. "I very much regret all this.
"The government will promise to be more humble in approaching the needs of the people," Lee said.
His support has plummeted in the wake of the protests. Many of Lee's top aides have offered to resign, and he plans to shuffle his cabinet.
The deal with the United States allowed for the import of almost all beef, except for a few parts considered at high risk for mad cow disease.
South Korea now wants the United States to limit imports to beef from cattle younger than 30 months old. Older cattle are thought to be more susceptible to mad cow disease.
No breakthrough has been made in discussions with Washington.