When George W. Bush took office in 2001, North Korea’s nuclear program was frozen and Kim Jong Il had signaled he was ready to negotiate. Today, North Korea possesses as many as ten nuclear warheads, and possibly the means to provide nuclear material to rogue states or terrorist groups. How did this happen?
Drawing on more than two hundred interviews with key players in Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing, including Colin Powell, John Bolton, and ex–Korean president Kim Dae-jung, as well as insights gained during fourteen trips to Pyongyang, Mike Chinoy takes readers behind the scenes of secret diplomatic meetings, disputed intelligence reports, and Washington turf battles as well as inside the mysterious world of North Korea. Meltdown provides a wealth of new material about a previously opaque series of events that eventually led the Bush administration to abandon confrontation and pursue negotiations, and explains how the diplomatic process collapsed and produced the crisis the Obama administration confronts today.
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"A fascinating account of the North Korean nuclear crisis. Through on-the-ground reporting inside North Korea, and meticulous research, Mike Chinoy takes us behind the headlines, offering a rare glimpse inside this secretive country and a better understanding of what really brought us to the brink with Kim Jong Il."--Anderson Cooper, anchor, CNN
"Mike Chinoy brilliantly and painstakingly reconstructs the faltering and dangerous dynamic by which Washington and Pyongyang misread one another's intentions. It's a path that could well lead to nuclear catastrophe and a story that's been told here with unblinking clarity."--Ted Koppel
“A tour de force of reporting…comprehensive and readable.” --The Washington Post
Mike Chinoy is the Edgerton Senior Fellow on Asia at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles. Until 2006, he was a foreign correspondent for CNN, largely in Asia, and made numerous visits to North Korea over the course of nearly two decades.