SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday apologized to the public for a local media report that her longtime confidant, Choi Soon-sil, had free access to Park's speeches even before the president delivers them.
Park's first apology to the public since her inauguration in February 2013 came a day after local cable channel JTBC reported that Park's longtime aide had stored the president's speeches in a computer even before Park's actual delivery.
It triggered speculation about the editing of the president's speech by Choi who has no official title in public office but is suspected of being involved in state affairs.
Park told a press conference that Choi Soon-sil played a role during her presidential election campaign in 2012 delivering personal opinion about how Park's campaign can be felt among the public.
Park said presidential candidates tend to listen to opinions from a variety of people during the campaign period, noting that she also received assistance from Choi in the same vein for some of her speeches and promotional materials.
Even after Park took office in February 2013, the president said, she paid attention to an advice from Choi for some of materials during a certain period.
Park, however, noted that she stopped listening to Choi's advice after the presidential staff completed a secretary system, expressing her deep apology to the public for troubles caused by the incident.
Political scandal surrounding Choi, which opposition lawmakers claim to be a behind-the-curtain heavyweight, has rattled the country's political landscape for weeks.
Choi is suspected of being involved in the establishment of Mir and K-Sports foundations, for which she allegedly exerted influence to gain an unprecedentedly swift approval and donations of tens of millions of U.S. dollars from major conglomerates.
According to the JTBC report, Choi had stored copies of the president's speeches and her remarks at meetings with cabinet members and senior secretaries in her tablet PC even before the date of their releases.
Prosecutors, who launched an investigation into Choi's case, received the tablet PC from JTBC to analyze it.