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The traditional structural-power approach falls short of accounting for North Korea’s nuclear strategies. Contrary to conventional wisdom, North Korea has been engaged in balancing acts against the United States, employing internal balancing, soft balancing, and omnibalancing strategies, while deviating from bandwagoning, the dominant strategy of small states. The present analysis of the North Korean case also demonstrates that a state’s behavior is not merely a response to the international structure of power distribution, but also a reaction to a state’s domestic situation. In addition to changes in the international power structure and perceived security threats, North Korea’s flagging economy, guiding ideology, competition with the South, and regime legitimacy have all compensated for the asymmetry of power between North Korea and the United States.