Welfare minister refuses to return to work despite president's instruction

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's welfare minister repeated his intention to step down Sunday in an apparent defiance of President Park Geun-hye's earlier decision to reject his resignation offer.

"I will not return to work," Minister of Health and Welfare Chin Young was quoted as saying by his ministry's spokesman.

The remarks came only two days after the president refused to accept the minister's offer to resign over what he has called his failure to follow through on Park's pension pledge for senior citizens.

The Park administration had promised to provide 200,000 won (US$186) to all senior citizens aged 65 or above, but a government bill on its 2014 spending showed the government has decided to instead pay an allowance of between 100,000 won and 200,000 won only to the poorest 70 percent of the aged.

Chin, known as a key designer of Park's welfare pledge, said in a statement emailed to reporters that he felt "responsible" for the apparent retraction of Park's campaign pledge though the 2014 budget is still subject to approval or changes by the parliament.

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