Now North Korean officials will nearly certainly emphasise preventing any sudden mishaps in Kim Jong Un's first visit to a foreign country other than China or South Korea since taking power, said Kim Doo-hyun, professor of protection politics at Korea National Sport University.
Authorities imposed tight security around the summit venue and related luxury hotels - including installing extra pot plants outside Kim's expected accommodation to obstruct reporters' views.
Ever since Trump shocked allies, White House officials and, by some accounts, the North Koreans themselves when he accepted Kim's March invitation for a meeting, the two leaders have lurched toward an uncertain encounter that could affect millions.
A large limousine with a North Korean flag could then be seen surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted window as it sped through the city's streets to the St Regis Hotel, where China's President Xi Jinping once stayed.
This will be the first summit of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting US president.
Entrepreneurs have been scrambling to cash in on the global media spectacle, hawking Trump-Kim fusion burgers and summit-themed cocktails.
But as he embarked for Singapore he changed his tune, calling it a "one-time shot" and adding he will know "within the first minute" whether an agreement will be possible. While hostilities ended with an armistice in 1953, no peace treaty has been signed yet. However, others reported that the Air China Boeing 747 took off before the leader's jet did by an hour or two as a security measure to avoid making his mode of transportation known. In a weird twist, he canceled the planned summit, only to then renege on pulling out of the summit when Kim reached out.
Then Trump hit an assortment of topics, including trade, North Korea and kept pushing for reinstatement Russia, which had been tossed from what was then the G-8 in 2014, after the country annexed Crimea and endorsed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines who has taken the lead on policy negotiations with the North, will hold a "working group" with a North Korean delegation to discuss final preparations for the meeting.
A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday's meeting appeared aimed at making 11th-hour progress ahead of the summit since Sung Kim's earlier talks did little to narrow a gap between the two sides on the definition of denuclearization or win agreement on tangible commitments from Pyongyang toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal.
"I may look like a communist, but really, I do want your money", Mr Howard said.
The one thing it is impossible for North Koreans to understand, however, is how big the difference in prosperity is between their country and developed nations like the US and South Korea. While Kim has shown he's willing to bargain, O'Hanlon said, "Giving up his nuclear weapons is probably going to be the last step in that process, not the first step".
North Korean defector Kim Young-il is the 39-year-old founder of People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE).
There are also signs that South Korea, China and Russian Federation are preparing to increase economic ties with North Korea, should a nuclear deal be reached.
The intelligence file on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reveals some unflattering things about the despot, including the fact he was a real jerk while still in school.
Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim a recognition North Korea has long sought, setting him up as global player and equal to the USA domestically and, internationally, as the leader of a "normal country" worthy of respect.
Kim's chief of staff was spotted in Beijing last week after wrapping up talks with USA officials in Singapore which had included security discussions.
Significantly, Syria's Bashar Assad, an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has also reportedly indicated he is interested in meeting Kim in North Korea.