DONALD Trump has called upon politicians to “summon the unity” needed to make good on long-standing promises to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and fractured immigration systems in his State of the Union address.

“To every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time,” Trump declared.

“If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”

At times, the presidents’s address appeared to be aimed more at validating his first year in office than setting the course for his second. He devoted significant time to touting the tax overhaul he signed at the end of last year, promising the plan will “provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses”. He spoke of potential agenda items for 2018 in broad terms, including a call for $1.5 trillion (£1.06 trillion) in new infrastructure spending and state partnerships with the private sector.

He touched only briefly on issues such as health care, which have been central to Republican policy for years.

Tackling the sensitive immigration debate that has roiled Washington, Trump redoubled his recent pledge to offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants - as part of a package that would also require increased funding for border security - including a wall along the US-Mexico border - ending the nation’s visa lottery method and revamping the current legal immigration system.

Some Republicans are wary of the hardline elements of the president’s plan and it is unclear whether his blueprint would pass Congress.

Trump continued his public spat with professional athletes who led protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem, declaring that paying tribute to the flag is a “civic duty”.

Despite his calls for bipartisanship, the president spoke with tensions running high on Capitol Hill.

An impasse over immigration prompted a three-day government shutdown earlier this year, and politicians appear no closer to resolving the status of Dreamers - young people living in the US illegally - ahead of a new February 8 deadline for funding operations.

The parties also clashed this week over plans of Republicans on the House intelligence committee to release a classified memo on the Russia investigation - a decision the White House backs but the Justice Department is fighting.

Democrats provided a short spurt of polite applause for Mr Trump as he entered the chamber, but offered muted reactions throughout the speech. A cluster of about two dozen Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, remained planted firmly in their seats, staring sternly at the president and withholding applause.

First lady Melania Trump, who has largely stayed out of the spotlight following the latest allegations of Trump infidelity, arrived at the capitol ahead of her husband to attend a reception with guests of the White House.

As always, Trump’s speech has provoked bemusement overseas.

His address warned of threats from “rogue regimes” like Iran and North Korea, terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, and “rivals” like China and Russia, which he said challenge US interests, values and economic wellbeing.

Chinese officials called on the US to drop what it terms a “Cold War mentality and zero-sum ideology”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said common interests outweigh any differences between the two global superpowers, and the US should view the relationship “correctly”.

Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Iranians will continue supporting the Islamic Republic despite foreign pressure, after Trump said America stands with “the people of Iran” and their “courageous struggle for freedom”.

South Korean analysts said the president’s fiery comments on North Korea suggest Washington will continue to deny Pyongyang meaningful dialogue unless it is willing to discuss serious changes to its nuclear weapons programme and human rights conditions.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University and a security adviser to South Korea’s presidential office, said Trump likely saw North Korea’s outreach over the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as a clear sign that pressure and sanctions are working.