President Moon Jae-in made a surprise visit Friday to the southeastern city of Pohang, which was recently struck by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that forced thousands of people to abandon their homes.
The second strongest quake recorded in the country rattled the coastal city, which lies 370 kilometers from Seoul, on Nov. 15.
"We have once again clearly confirmed the fact that our country is no longer a safe zone from earthquakes," the president said in a Cabinet meeting held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday.
The quake forced the nation to postpone its annual college entrance exam, affecting nearly 600,000 college applicants across the nation. The test was taken Thursday following a weeklong delay.
The latest earthquake came about a year after a 5.8 magnitude quake struck Gyeongju in September 2016.
Moon's trip to the city began with a visit to a local high school, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
There, he met a group of high school seniors and acknowledged their hardship, noting they were forced to take possibly the most important exam in their life under fears of aftershocks.
More than 60 aftershocks of 2.0 or greater magnitude have followed the Nov. 15 quake so far, according to the weather agency.
The government declared a special disaster zone in the quake-hit area on Monday.
More than 18,000 homes and apartments have been reported damaged, with 1,380 people displaced from their homes as of Thursday.
While meeting with local residents later, the president promised additional support for those who have been forced to leave their homes for safety reasons.
"Even with the designation of a special disaster zone, there may not be enough support funds for damaged homes. The government will do its utmost to help the people overcome their hardship by providing additional funds at zero or very low interest rates," he said.(Yonhap News)