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Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton says the U.S. must consider using the military option against North Korea in response to the rogue nation's saber-rattling.

North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan, an act of defiance that Bolton says sends a clear message to Tokyo, Seoul and Washington.

In response, President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un's regime to stop their "threatening and destabilizing actions," and he said that "all options are on the table" for the U.S.

Bolton said the responsibility of the U.S. government is to protect U.S. citizens, and that's why Trump must keep the military option on the table.

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He pointed out that South Korea apparently feels the same way, as they conducted their own live-fire drill near the demilitarized zone in response to the North Korean missile launch.

"I think there's no misunderstanding in Japan, South Korea or - I hope - in the United States how grave this threat is," Bolton said, adding that it's not warmongering to consider the military option sooner rather than later.

He argued that using the military option sooner is actually less risky and less costly than giving North Korea more time to advance its nuclear capabilities.

"You see a ballistic missile on a North Korean launchpad. Perhaps in a year we would know that it could reach the United States," Bolton said. "Are you going to bet what direction it's headed in? Are you going to bet it doesn't have a nuclear warhead under the nose cone in the reentry vehicle? Are you going to bet it's a peaceful satellite launch? Or are you going to take action?"

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