The commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift, has said he would launch a nuclear strike against China next week if President Donald Trump ordered it.
The US Navy Admiral made the sensational statement while addressing a security conference at Australian National University.
Answering to a hypothetical question whether he would make a nuclear attack on China next week if Trump ordered it, Swift replied: “The answer would be: yes.”
He also warned against the US military ever shifting its allegiance from its commander in chief.
“Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us,” Swift said.
Australia and the United States recently held their biggest ever joint military exercises, a show of force, largely at sea, aimed at sending a message both to allies and potential foes, including China.
The exercises involved 33,000 US and Australian troops on board battleships equipped with strike jets.
The military exercises were held as tension over China's more assertive activity, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, are raising fears of confrontation.
Relations between the United States and China have soured in recent months as the United States seeks to counter what it perceives as Chinese assertiveness in the Pacific, encapsulated by Beijing's artificial island building in the South China Sea.