Interior minister Lee Sang-min bowed his head as he apologized in front of bereaved families of the Itaewon crowd for the first time on Friday.
Lee’s apology came during the second hearing of the special parliamentary committee investigating the tragedy that claimed 159 lives.
However, the minister was quick to reaffirm that he has no intention of resigning, refusing opposition lawmakers' calls for him to step down.
Ahead of Friday's hearing, the special panel decided to file a complaint against the former head of the Yongsan emergency hotline situation room, Song Byung-joo, for rejecting an order to show up for its first hearing on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly will convene a plenary session on Friday to pass a motion seeking to extend the term of the special committee by ten days to January 17.