Speaking at a Republican dinner in Asheville, North Carolina, he said “nobody” wanted World War 3 to break out.
Slamming previous failed attempts to negotiate with Kim Jong-un’s regime, he claimed the time for talking was nearing an end.
And he dismissed claims that Pyongyang could be contained with Cold War-style tactics.
Mr Bolton said: “It’s a myth to think that a regime as irrational in our terms as North Korea or as extreme ideologically as Iran are going to be deterred in the same way.
His latest comments came as the North warned the US to prepare for “nuclear war”.
A state-run newspaper said plans for a sea blockade “cannot be tolerated”.
It warned: “A naval blockade is an act of wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of an independent state and an act of war of aggression which cannot be tolerated.
“The gang of Trump is taking extremely dangerous and big step towards the nuclear war by recklessly seeking the naval blockade against our country, neglecting the strategic prestige of our country that has achieved the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”
The US and South Korea have taken part in a series of joint military drills in recent days as a show of defiance to the North.
The military training took place between Tuesday and Friday and is said to have replicated how weapons of mass destruction would be destroyed in the hermit state.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis has suggested a “ground invasion” is required in order to stop the threat posed by Kim’s sabre-rattling regime.