Pyongyang, South Korea (AB) – President Joe Biden on Friday embarked on a trip to Asia as a way to deepen ties with the Indo-Pacific and Indo-Pacific, touring the South Korean computer chip factory, which is modeled on another plant in Texas. Fuel technology innovation and fostering vibrant democracy.
“In the Indo-Pacific region, the future of the world will be written here for the next several decades,” Biden said. “In my view, this is the moment to invest in each other to deepen our business relationships and bring our people even closer.”
Biden’s news was aimed at promising a better tomorrow, but amid domestic political challenges targeting the American electorate, which means inflation is high due to the chip shortage.
The Associated Press-NORC Public Affairs Research Center found that Biden’s US approval rating was 39%, the lowest point in his presidency, in a poll released Friday of the Democrats’ first visit to Asia as president. The survey also found deep distrust of the economy and the state of the United States – especially among Democrats.
2 out of 10 American adults say the country is heading in the right direction or the economy is doing well, up from 3 in 10 in April. Among Democrats, just 33% said the country was on the right track, up from 49% last month.
Samsung, the owner of the chip plant, announced plans to open a $ 17 billion semiconductor plant in Texas last November. Last year a semiconductor shortage affected the availability of autos, kitchen appliances and other items, causing high inflation worldwide and crippling Biden’s public recognition among U.S. voters. The president said the Texas plant would add 3,000 high-tech jobs and include union workers in construction.
“These little chips,” Biden said in his comments as he toured the plant, “the key to pushing us into the next era of human technological development.”
Biden sought to shape business cooperation and foreign investment in the United States as part of his broader economic goals, which are good for him domestically as well. He was appearing Sunday in Seoul, South Korea, with the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group on Hyundai’s decision to invest in a new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia.
Throughout his five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, Biden has sought to explain a number of foreign policy issues to the US public. In his comments on Friday, Biden did not mention China, which emerged as a major rival with the United States, but stressed the value of alliances currently excluding that country.
South Korea’s new president Eun Suk Yol and Samsung Electronics vice president Lee Jae-yong greeted Pita at the plant. Yoon is a political newcomer who became president, his first elected office, this month. He campaigned for a tougher stance against North Korea and for strengthening its 70-year alliance with the United States.
Before Biden spoke, Yun said he hoped the US-South Korea alliance would develop into an “economic and security alliance based on cooperation in advanced technology and supply chains”.
The chip showed the uniqueness of the factory production because visitors had to wear white laboratory coats and blue shoes to help keep the facility clean. Biden and Yoon, who were not wearing protective clothing, witnessed the demonstration of the machines.
At one point during his tour, Biden received an in-depth description of the KLA research system at the Samsung plant site. The California-based company is a major supplier to Samsung’s semiconductor operations. After a worker named Peter explained the intricacies of the machine, Biden teased when he returned home to the United States, “Vote without forgetting.”
In the end, Biden slipped in and thanked “Moon,” who had been South Korea’s immediate former president, Moon Jae-in, who had been in office for many years for Yoon’s recent election. Biden quickly adjusted the slip.
“Thank you, President Moon, for all you have done so far,” Biden said.
As most of the world emerges from the corona virus infection, part of the computer chip shortage is the result of strong demand. But corona virus outbreaks and other challenges also led to the closure of semiconductor plants. U.S. government officials estimate that chip production will not be as high as they would like in early 2023.
According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, global computer chip sales in the first three months of this year totaled $ 151.7 billion, up 23% from the same period in 2021.
75% of global chip production comes from Asia. This is a potential impact that the United States hopes to secure through a bill negotiated in Congress to protect domestic production and $ 52 billion worth of government investment in the sector.
The risk of Chinese aggression against Taiwan could cut off the flow of high-end computer chips needed in the United States for military gear and consumer goods. Similarly, hermetic North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles in the midst of the Corona virus outbreak, making it possible if the risk to South Korea’s manufacturing sector increases.
In terms of chip production, China leads the world with 24% of the stock, followed by Taiwan (21%), South Korea (19%) and Japan (13%). According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, only 10% of chips are made in the United States.
In November 2021 Samsung announced the plant at Taylor in Texas. It is expected to be operational by the second half of 2024. The South Korean electronics company selected the site based on a number of factors, including government incentives and “readiness and stability.” Local infrastructure.
In a fact sheet released Friday, semiconductor companies have announced nearly $ 80 billion in U.S. investment by 2025. That includes $ 20 billion for Intel’s plant outside Columbus, Ohio, and $ 1 billion for Texas Instruments, a $ 1 billion expansion. Wolfspeed & Global Foundries and SK Group Investments in North Carolina.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.