Hyundai’s investment includes $5.5 billion for an electric vehicle and battery factory in Georgia.

Appearing with Biden, Hyundai CEO Euisun Chung said Sunday his company would spend another $5 billion on artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles and other technologies.

BIDEN TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT YOON SUK YEOL IN SOUTH KOREA, TOUR SAMSUNG FACTORY AMID NORTH KOREA PROVOCATIONS

“Electric vehicles are good for our climate goals, but they’re also good for jobs,” Biden said. “And they’re good for business.”

President Joe Biden South Korea Hyundai

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, listens to Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Seoul. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)

The major U.S. investment by a South Korean company is a reflection of how the U.S. and South Korea are leveraging their longstanding military ties into a broader economic partnership.

Biden said he was not concerned about any possible provocation by North Korea while he is touring the region.

“We are prepared for anything North Korea does,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question. “We’ve talked through how we’d respond to whatever they do so I am not concerned, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”

The U.S. president has made greater economic cooperation with South Korea a priority, saying on Saturday that “it will bring our two countries even closer together, cooperating even more closely than we already do, and help strengthen our supply chains, secure them against shocks and give our economies a competitive edge.”

GEORGIA GOV. BRIAN KEMP ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR ‘MASSIVE’ NEW HYUNDAI FACILITY

The pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has forced a deeper rethinking of national security and economic alliances. Coronavirus outbreaks led to shortages of computer chips, autos and other goods that the Biden administration says can ultimately be fixed by having more manufacturing domestically and with trusted allies.

Biden’s meeting Sunday with Hyundai’s chief comes after the president made an earlier stop at a computer chip plant run by Samsung, the Korean electronics giant that plans to build a $17 billion production facility in Texas.

Hyundai’s Georgia factory is expected to employ 8,100 workers and produce up to 300,000 vehicles annually, with plans for construction to begin early next year and production to start in 2025 near the unincorporated town of Ellabell.

But the Hyundai plant shows that there are also tradeoffs as Biden pursues his economic agenda.

The president earlier in his term tried to link the production of electric vehicles to automakers with unionized workers. As part of a $1.85 trillion spending proposal last year that stalled in the Senate, Biden wanted extra tax credits to go to the buyers of EVs made by unionized factories. That would have provided a boost to the unionized auto plant owned by General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV at a vital moment when union membership nationwide has been steadily decreasing.

HYUNDAI, KIA RECALL: CUSTOMERS TOLD TO PARK VEHICLES OUTSIDE OVER FIRE RISK

During the Samsung visit, Biden called on Korean companies building plants in the U.S. to hire union workers. In addition to its coming Texas plant, Samsung has a deal in place with Stellantis to build an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in the U.S.

“I urge Samsung and Stellantis and any company investing in the United States to enter into partnerships with our most highly skilled and dedicated and engaged workers you can find anywhere in the world: American union members,” he said.

Hyundai dealership

Indianapolis, US – May 15, 2016: Hyundai Motor Company Dealership. Hyundai is a South Korean Multinational Automotive Manufacturer III (iStock / iStock)

There so far has been no guarantee that the Hyundai Georgia plant’s workers will be unionized.

Katie Byrd, the press secretary for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, noted in an email that the state is “Right-to-Work,” which “means that workers may not be required to join a union or make payments to a union as a condition of employment.”

A Hyundai spokesperson did not respond to an email asking if the Georgia plant would be unionized. A senior Biden administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said there was no contradiction between Biden encouraging investors to embrace union workforces while his administration does “whatever it can” to encourage investment and bring jobs to the U.S.

GEORGIA SETS $1.5B IN AID FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE MAKER RIVIAN

Before meeting Hyundai’s CEO, Biden attended Mass at his hotel in Seoul along with some White House staff. Biden will also meet with service members and military families at Osan Air Base and address U.S. and Korean troops. Biden and Korean President Yoon Sook Yeol on Saturday announced t hey will consider expanded joint military exercises to deter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

The push toward deterrence by Biden and Yoon, who is less than two weeks into his presidency, marks a shift by the leaders from their predecessors. President Donald Trump had considered scrapping the exercises and expressed affection for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And the last South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, remained committed to dialogue with Kim to the end of his term despite being repeatedly rebuffed by the North.

Biden decided to skip a visit to the demilitarized zone on the North and South’s border, a regular stop for U.S. presidents when visiting Seoul. Instead, Biden, who had visited the DMZ as vice president, was more interested in visiting Osan to see an installation “where the rubber hits the road” for U.S. and South Korean troops maintaining security on the Korean Peninsula, said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

US AGENCY OPENS PROBE INTO ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERIES

Yoon campaigned on a promise to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea relationship. He reiterated at a dinner on Saturday in Biden’s honor that it was his goal to move the relationship “beyond security” issues with North Korea, which have long dominated the relationship.

“I will try and design a new future vision of our alliances with you, Mr. President,” Yoon said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in Seoul before heading to Japan as part of his first Asia trip as president, had a simple message for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: “Hello… period,” he told reporters on the last day of his visit to South Korea on Sunday.

Biden said he was “not concerned” about new North Korean nuclear tests, which would be the first in nearly five years.

ripped roofs off buildings and flipped cars in a northern Michigan town on Friday, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency for the area.

The twister — with maximum winds of 150 mph — also injured 44 people as it tore through the town of Gaylord, which sits about 60 miles east of Traverse City in the state’s Lower Peninsula, causing what officials describe as “catastrophic” damages.
One dead, more than 40 injured as Michigan tornado causes ‘catastrophic’ damage
“It took out an insane amount of buildings and just jeopardized so many lives,” said Jordan Awrey, a Gaylord city council member. “The town is devastated.”
Both victims were in the Nottingham Forest mobile home park and are in their seventies, according to Michigan State Police. Officials are still working on notifying the family of one of the victims.
The tornado touched down in a bustling part of the city, home to shops, restaurants and retail stores — some of which were destroyed.
Photos of the damage show streets littered with debris, businesses with roofs and walls torn off, and cars completely flipped over. Roads were also blocked by downed trees and powerlines.
“It is a busy downtown area, and it went right through it,” said Lt. Jim Gorno of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, describing the aftermath as “catastrophic.”

Australian voters ended nine years of conservative rule in the country’s national elections Saturday, ousting Prime Minister Scott Morrison in favor of the center left Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, who has campaigned on promises to take tough action on climate change.

Early results showed the Labor Party winning 72 of the 76 seats needed to form a government as Morrison conceded defeat in the Liberal-National Coalition that he has led since 2018.

Albanese, 59, known as “Albo,” campaigned on improving free healthcare and advocating for the LGBT community.

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters on Sunday, May 22.
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters on Sunday, May 22.
AP

He credits his progressive politics with being raised by a single mother on disability in public housing.

“Tonight, the Australian people have voted for change,” Albanese said in his victory speech in Sydney.

But his wry response when asked what message he had for Kim underscored the administration’s low-key approach to the unresolved tensions with North Korea. It is a stark contrast with former President Donald Trump’s showy threats, summits, and “love letters” with Kim.

Neither president’s approach has led to a major breakthrough, however, and North Korea has resumed testing its largest intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), while intelligence reports suggest it is preparing for a new nuclear test.

“We are prepared for anything North Korea does,” Biden said.

A day earlier, Biden and his new South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk-yeol, agreed to consider bigger military exercises and potentially deploying more nuclear-capable American weapons to the region in response to the North’s weapons tests. read more

North Korea has not responded to U.S. overtures, including offers of COVID-19 vaccines, Biden said on Saturday, noting that he was willing to sit down with Kim if he thought it would lead to a serious breakthrough. read more

COVID-19 restrictions may be playing a role in North Korea’s lack of response, a senior U.S. administration official said.

North Korea has said the U.S. overtures are insincere because Washington maintains “hostile policies” such as military drills and sanctions.

When asked whether Biden was willing to take concrete steps to break the stalemate, the official said that the administration was looking for serious engagement, not grand gestures.

“This is a decision that only the DPRK can make,” the official said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name.

REGIONAL TEAM-BUILDING

Biden’s focus during the trip has been on rallying “like-minded” democracies to cooperate more, part of broader efforts to counter China’s rising influence and exert pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine.

On the second leg of the trip, Biden will meet with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, a grouping known as the Quad, another cornerstone of his strategy to push back against China’s expanding influence.

Yoon has shown interest in working more closely with the Quad, but the U.S. official said there was no consideration of adding Seoul to the group.

“It’s natural… to think about ways in which you can work with other like-minded democracies, but I think it’s also important to recognise that the goal right now is to develop and build out what has already been laid out,” the official said.

Tokyo will also see the launch on Monday of Biden’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a programme intended to bind regional countries more closely via common standards in areas including supply-chain resilience, clean energy, infrastructure and digital trade.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in Seoul before heading to Japan as part of his first Asia trip as president, had a simple message for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: “Hello… period,” he told reporters on the last day of his visit to South Korea on Sunday.

Biden said he was “not concerned” about new North Korean nuclear tests, which would be the first in nearly five years.

But his wry response when asked what message he had for Kim underscored the administration’s low-key approach to the unresolved tensions with North Korea. It is a stark contrast with former President Donald Trump’s showy threats, summits, and “love letters” with Kim.

Neither president’s approach has led to a major breakthrough, however, and North Korea has resumed testing its largest intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), while intelligence reports suggest it is preparing for a new nuclear test.

“We are prepared for anything North Korea does,” Biden said.

A day earlier, Biden and his new South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk-yeol, agreed to consider bigger military exercises and potentially deploying more nuclear-capable American weapons to the region in response to the North’s weapons tests. read more

North Korea has not responded to U.S. overtures, including offers of COVID-19 vaccines, Biden said on Saturday, noting that he was willing to sit down with Kim if he thought it would lead to a serious breakthrough. read more

COVID-19 restrictions may be playing a role in North Korea’s lack of response, a senior U.S. administration official said.

North Korea has said the U.S. overtures are insincere because Washington maintains “hostile policies” such as military drills and sanctions.

When asked whether Biden was willing to take concrete steps to break the stalemate, the official said that the administration was looking for serious engagement, not grand gestures.

“This is a decision that only the DPRK can make,” the official said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name.

REGIONAL TEAM-BUILDING

Biden’s focus during the trip has been on rallying “like-minded” democracies to cooperate more, part of broader efforts to counter China’s rising influence and exert pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine.

On the second leg of the trip, Biden will meet with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, a grouping known as the Quad, another cornerstone of his strategy to push back against China’s expanding influence.

Yoon has shown interest in working more closely with the Quad, but the U.S. official said there was no consideration of adding Seoul to the group.

“It’s natural… to think about ways in which you can work with other like-minded democracies, but I think it’s also important to recognise that the goal right now is to develop and build out what has already been laid out,” the official said.

Tokyo will also see the launch on Monday of Biden’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a programme intended to bind regional countries more closely via common standards in areas including supply-chain resilience, clean energy, infrastructure and digital trade.

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