U.S. President Barack Obama
delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington - Reuters
US President Barack Obama has pledged to create more "middle-class jobs" to revive the American economy, while laying out priorities for his second term at the White House, during the annual State of the Union address.
The speech was dominated by domestic issues rather than foreign policy matters. Obama also touched upon the overhaul of gun control laws in the US.
"Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged," said Obama adding that the next task is to "to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class".
Speaking at the House of Representatives, the Democratic president has also said that majority of Americans supported the "commonsense reform" of gun control legislation, which include stricter background check on the owners.
Obama urged his republican opponents for a vote saying, "The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence - they deserve a simple vote".
Nevertheless, the remarks are to be snubbed by the opponents. "We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future," said Republican Senator Rand Paul's Tea Party response, which has been released in advance
However, Obama's speech was carefully followed also for his much-expected remarks on North Korea's controversial nuclear test defying international warnings.
"Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defence and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats," said Obama.
Outlining the steps, he also announced the scheduled departure of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by early 2014. Nearly 60,000 American troops are in the country following the 11-year-old Afghan War.
He also vowed to help the nations including Yemen, Somalia, and Libya in their security measures against insurgents.
Obama added that Washington "will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian".
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