Samuel J Locklear, at a National Committee on US-China Relations event in New York City, said: “Just because it’s [a pre-emptive strike on North Korea] tragic doesn’t mean he [Donald Trump] won’t do it.
"If the national interests are high enough, and I think this is the mistake that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un needs really to think about, if you start pressing on an issue that has to do with the survival of the United States against a nuclear attack, the tragic becomes conceivable to stop it. It could be tragic.”
Mr Locklear’s views were then echoed by Admiral Timothy J Keating, another former commander of Pacific Command.
Military experts have warned that the US could strike North Korea first
He said: "There are a wide range of options" that are "readily available to the president and the secretary of defence resident in the planning warrens at Pacific Command.”
Pyongyang has repeatedly threatened both its close neighbours such as South Korea and Japan as well as the US with nuclear strikes with the reclusive communist state believed to possibly possess up to 15 nuclear weapons.
Revealed: Kim Jong-un's nuclear cronies Fri, May 26, 2017
After North Korea's recent series of ballistic missile test, dictator Kim Jong-un is often photographed with the same three men
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Kim Jong-un reacts during the long-range Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) strategic ballistic rocket test launch with Ri Pyong Chol (2nd L), Kim Jong Sik (C) and Jang Chang Ha (2nd R)
North Korea’s unpredictable leader Jong-un issued his latest threat of US obliteration earlier this week.
In a state-owner Pyongyang newspaper article it accused of the US spying on the east Asian country and using its agents to infiltrate North Korea.
The article read: “The US is, indeed, a den of evils that should be wiped off the face of the earth as early as possible as it is openly pursuing the policy of state-sponsored terrorism by unhesitatingly resorting to hideous provocation, far from learning a lesson from the failed DPRK policy of its predecessors.
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US military experts have said that the country could strike North Korea first
- North Korea LIVE: Donald Trump plans missile test as Kim mocks US
- North Korean satellites 'in ideal position' for EMP attack
Just because it’s [a pre-emptive strike on North Korea] tragic doesn’t mean he [Donald Trump] won’t do it
Samuel J Locklear, a former US head of Pacific Command
“The US should understand that its desperate intelligence operation against the DPRK will only bring destruction to it.
“The foolhardy operations against the supreme leadership of the DPRK and its strategic facilities only bring to light the wretched plight of the US which has sustained disgraceful defeats only in the showdown with the DPRK.”
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
The ongoing threats from North Korea come amid the US is set to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) interceptor.
In the first test of its kind, the US Missile Defence Agency announced it would fire a Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) interceptor from a military base in California.
The intermediate-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2's launch test
Its target will be a custom-made missile resembling an ICBM fired from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.