The US President was wrapped up in a war of words with Kim Jong-un as both sides threatened military strikes on each other.
James Stavridis, a former Navy Admiral, warned that if North Korea detonates a nuclear missile above ground it would spark an instant reaction from the United States.
He told MSNBC: “I think it is probably about a 10 per cent chance that it all falls apart and we end up with nuclear detonation on the peninsula from Kim Jong-un.
“I disagree with the idea that we would have to go all the way the minute the first missile goes.
“I think you can do a lot symbolically, going after the North Korean fleet for example while it is in port.
“You can go after specific sites, but of course the worry is that Kim Jong-un would respond with artillery on Seoul and then it just ratchets up.
“So legitimate worry. I think there is still some room for negotiation here.
“I think if Kim Jong-un launches one above ground, a nuclear detonation, that would be a moment of peak tension but it will also be a moment of peak opportunity and hopefully at that point even China would step in with us and really put a blockade on this guy, both maritime and on the land border with China.
“That would choke up the economy, that would force him to the table.”
The comments come after south Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said the possibility of military conflict still remains low but predicted a significant upwards shift in the possibility if Kim Jong-un fires another test missile.
Senator Graham said: “I should say there’s a three in ten chance we use the military option.
“If the North Koreans conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb – their seventh – I would say 70 per cent.”
North Korea’s most recent missile test took place on November 29, and the regime said the Hwasong-15 missile soared to an altitude of about 2,780 miles (4,475 km) and flew 590 miles (950km) during its 53-minute flight before landing in the sea new Japan.
After the missile test Kim Jong-un declared that the North had “finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”.
President Donald Trump has now urged Vladimir Putin and Russia to side with the United States in a hope to bring an end to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.