Joe Biden kicks off Asia trip with Samsung tour in South Korea

President on Friday promised to take the US- relationship “higher” as he launches the East Asian rollout at a -owned semiconductor manufacturer that has invested billions of dollars in the US.

Mr. Biden said that Samsung’s building a new factory in Texas is symbolic of a technology alliance that will help both countries stay competitive in an ever-changing world. He also said it would help their nation become less dependent on countries that “do not share our values.”

“These tiny chips, only a few nanometers thick, are the key to pushing us towards humanity’s technological advancement,” said Mr. Biden, after touring Samsung’s Semiconductor Pyeongtaek Campus. “This is an auspicious start for my visit as it is emblematic of our future collaboration and innovation that our nations can and must build together.”

Incumbent South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said that chips will be essential for self-driving vehicles and artificial intelligence, meaning they are key to any nation’s competitiveness.

“I believe semiconductors are national security assets for our future,” said Mr. Yoon, adding that he appreciated Mr. Biden’s provision of incentives to South Korean companies in the US.

It was Mr. Biden’s first stop after landing at Osan Air Base for a to designed to strengthen ties with South Korea and Japan, important Asian allies that also rely on China for trade.

SEE ALSO: China, North Korea overshadow Biden Asia mission

After a warm round of applause at the company, Mr. Biden told Mr. Yoon, “I am honored to welcome you to your beautiful country.”

Mr. Biden will also deliver a collective regional message that the faltering Russian occupation should give China a break from its sword swings in the Pacific, including Taiwan.

The US leader emphasized semiconductor manufacturing on American soil as a way to compete with non-allies and remain resilient in the face of supply chain shocks.

“The brutal and unwarranted war in Ukraine further highlighted the need to secure our supply chains critical to our economic and national security, we are not dependent on countries that do not show our values,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Samsung is a major South Korean player in the United States, employing more than 20,000 Americans at its research and development centers, manufacturing facilities, and regional offices in Texas and California.

The company announced that it will establish a new semiconductor plant in the US in 2021, bringing its total investment in the US to $47 billion. Taylor settled on a site in Texas that should be operable by 2024.

SEE ALSO: Biden executive warns of North Koreans infiltrating tech industry

The Samsung campus in South Korea was filled with large gray modernist buildings painted with red, blue, and yellow rectangles decorated to resemble microchips. A man wearing full protective gear showed Mr. Biden how semiconductor parts are made, a highly technical process, and how the parts travel around the facility on a kind of railroad across the ceiling.

Reporters traveling with the president had to wear blue booties and white-striped lab coats with “VIP” on them, and went through an air tunnel to decontaminate themselves.

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