But Chinese analysts agreed that Beijing could and would play a larger role following the summit between Kim and Trump, who - given their divergent views on denuclearisation - are expected to make some "symbolic deals" when they meet.
Kim's personality profile then may well focus into the strategy for the summit, as will Trump's own attitude on the encounter.
Kim smiled broadly Sunday evening as he met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Kim and Trump both arrived in Singapore a few hours apart on Sunday.
Whether or not the summit will result in any sort of signed agreement, including one officially bringing an end to the Korean War, remains to be seen.
Yet even as he turned his attention to the summit, Trump continued his blistering attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tweeting "Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal".
A source told the South China Morning Post earlier that China could send fighter jets to escort Kim on the journey through its airspace. In a freaky twist, he canceled the planned summit, only to then renege on pulling out of the summit when Kim reached out.
Word does get around, however, and the prospect of a meeting between Kim and Trump had already been on the public's radar. Moon's efforts to avert a potentially catastrophic US first strike pushed Trump and Kim to take a risk. On Saturday he was quoted as saying, "I have a clear objective", but adding that it would be "a spur of the moment" decision, based on how he feels when he sits down with the Korean leader, and that he would walk out of the meeting if he didn't think it was going well.
The summit was arranged as there were strong incentives for both leaders, said Agathe L'Homme, The Economist Intelligence Unit's Asia analyst.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said USA and North Korean officials would hold working-level talks on Monday. The truth is Trump needs success in these talks more than Kim does because Trump has already claimed success on the basis of Kim's offer to denuclearise. 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".
May 22: Mr Trump and Mr Moon meet at the White House to discuss the Trump-Kim talks.
Japan's government is anxious that Trump, with his "America First" focus, may accept a deal that eliminates the threat from North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the USA mainland, without dealing sufficiently with medium-range missiles that could strike Tokyo.
The fighting ended on July 27, 1953, but the war technically continues today because instead of a difficult-to-negotiate peace treaty, military officers for the US -led United Nations, North Korea and China signed an armistice that halted the fighting.
Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim a recognition North Korea has long sought, setting him up as global player and the leader of a country worthy of respect.
"I think we can presume that North Korea made more demands to Singapore than the United States did in terms of security".
Victor Teo, professor at the University of Hong Kong, believes "North Koreans are upbeat, but careful at the same time".
As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore yesterday, his lookalike was already taking photos with fans.