Admiral Scott Swift, US Pacific Fleet commander, has said that he would launch a nuclear strike against China if asked to do so by the US President Donald Trump.
Admiral Swift's comment came during an Australian National University security conference after a major joint US-Australian military exercise off the Australian coast. The entire exercise was being monitored by a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off northeast Australia, reported AP.
The top US Navy official was responding to a question raised by an academic in the audience on whether he would launch a nuclear attack on China next week if Trump ordered it, Swift replied: "The answer would be: yes."
"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, the report adds.
Later, spokesman of Pacific Fleet Capt Charlie Brown said that Swift's answer reaffirmed the principle of civilian control over the military.
"The admiral was not addressing the premise of the question, he was addressing the principle of civilian authority of the military," Brown said. "The premise of the question was ridiculous."