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Biden visits Samsung, pushing pact to rival China

STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden landed in South Korea on Friday, his first stop on his inaugural trip to Asia, and toured a massive Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant.

The visit is meant to restore and ensure the flow of critical manufacturing supplies, and comes as Biden faces monumental challenges on a multitude of fronts: supply chain snarls spurring soaring inflation, a war in Ukraine sparking renewed tensions with Moscow, and a leader in North Korea apparently intent on ramping up nuclear and missile testing.

He arrived at the facility south of Seoul to deliver a message of economic security in an age of uncertainty.

“Global semiconductor shortage has caused shortfall on consumer goods, especially automobiles, and it's contributing to higher prices around the world. And now Putin’s brutal unprovoked war in Ukraine has further spotlighted the needs to secure our critical supply chains so, our economy, our economic and our national security are not dependent on countries that don’t share our values.”

That line about values, likely directed at China, a chief global competitor in producing advanced chips for mobile phones, computing and artificial intelligence.

Countering China's presence in the region is a key Biden theme on the trip, which is set to inaugurate what Biden has termed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

“So much, so much, of future of the world is going to be written here, in the Indo-Pacific, over the next several decades. We're standing at an inflection point of history where the decisions we make today will have far-reaching impacts on the world we leave for our children tomorrow.”

Biden met with newly-inaugurated South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol, and the two leaders toured the Samsung plant.

The White House called the facility a model for a new $17 billion factory that Samsung plans to build in Taylor, Texas.

South Korea has to tread somewhat carefully, because Beijing is Seoul's chief trading partner. And China opposes Biden's new IPEF.

Biden's meetings continue on Saturday, and the matter of North Korea is expected to top the agenda.

Leader Kim Jong Un abandoned a freeze on intercontinental ballistic missile testing and appears poised to resume testing nuclear bombs.

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