Dr. C. Kenneth Quinones, a native of Mesa, Arizona, has been involved with Korea since 1962 as a soldier, scholar and diplomat. He is now an Akita International University (Kokusai kyoyo daigaku) professor emeritus. Before retirement he was Dean of Research, Director of Global Studies and Professor of Korean Studies between 2006 and 2015.
Dr. Quinones is also a retired (1997) U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer who served as the North Korea Affairs Officer, was the first U.S. government official to visit North Korea (1992), the first to meet Kim Il Sung (1993), was a member of the U.S. negotiating team that formulated the US-DPRK Agreed Framework in 1994, and was the de facto U.S. Department of State liaison officer in North Korea between 1994 and 1997. He also served as a U.S. diplomat in South Korea from 1981 to 1987 and in Japan from 1990 to 1992.
After retiring from the State Department, he was a research fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, served as the Asia Foundation representative to South Korea from 1998 to 1999, and then worked for the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps as its Director of North Korea educational programs from 1999 to 2001.
Between 2001 and 2005 Dr. Quinones was a visiting scholar at Shizuoka Prefecture University (Shizuoka kinritsu daigaku), published three books in the U.S., South Korea, and Japan, and numerous articles in newspapers and academic journals on US-North Korea relations and North Korea. His books include the two volume set Kita chosen beikokumusho tantokan no koshio hiroku (North Korea’s Nuclear Threat “Off the Record Memories”), published in Japanese, Tokyo: Chuokoron shinsha, 2000. It is about the 1992-94 Korean nuclear crisis and implementation of the Agreed Framework. Volume one of the set was also published in Korean in Seoul, Korea. In 2004 he published Understanding North Korea, New York: Penguin, 2004 in English.
Dr. Quinones has appeared frequently in interviews about Korea issues on television and radio in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. He has also lectured at universities in Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Korea (North and South Korea), Russia and the United States. He is married, has two daughters and holds a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.