North Korea and the United States have been locking horns sparking concerns of a possible war between the rogue states and Washington.
Experts have warned that reacting to North Korea’s nuclear or missile testing with a targeted strike – a so-called “bloody nose strike” – could spark World War 3 and cost millions their lives.
Mr Stavridis said: “It’s not a good idea or a bad idea, it’s a terrible idea because we would not be able to control the impulse to escalation which would emerge.
“Kim Jong-un would find it irresistible to react and he really has a limited tool-set. All of the artillery barrages, for example, special forces flooding the zone in North or in South Korea. All of those require an escalatory response by the United States.
“We would almost for certain be off to a war that would kill 2 to 4 million people in the Korean peninsula.”
North Korea has been fuelling World War 3 fears with its refusal to give up its nuclear arsenal despite growing international pressure.
Mr Stavridis said US President Donald Trump should use the recent reopening of communication channels between Pyongyang and Seoul to establish a new diplomatic strategy in order to defuse tensions with leader Kim Jong-un.
Speaking to Defense&Aerospace Report, Mr Stavridis continued: “What we should be doing is using this sliver of an opening being provided by the Olympics to go from two-party talks which are happening now between North and South Korea and make those four-party talks.
“Bring the United States and China into the mix. China has to be part of the solution.
“All roads to Pyongyang lead through Beijing in the end.”
Returning from the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence said the US and South Korea have agreed on terms for further diplomatic engagement with North Korea in an attempt to ease tensions with the rogue state.
Mr Pence said Washington would keep up its “maximum pressure campaign” against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time.
He said: “The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearisation.
“So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”