Richard Heydarian, a political science professor at the De La Salle University in Manila, called the ministers' references to the South China Sea issue an "improvement" from last April's statement issued at the Asean leaders' summit, which did not mention "land reclamation" or "non-militarisation", in an apparent concession to China.
President Donald Trump is demanding full and speedy implementation of the new penalties.
The ministers discussed ways to work together to counter terrorism and violent extremism.
The top USA diplomat held bilateral talks with the leaders of 26 countries during the regional summit, as he begins his first diplomatic trip to Southeast Asia.
He apparently was referring to his government's proposal of holding military and humanitarian talks with the north that contrasted with the more hardline USA position of stepping up sanctions and military pressure on the isolated communist state.
The Global Times, an influential state-run Chinese tabloid, said in June that the once "special relationship" between the two nations was fading away amid mistrust over the South China Sea.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China hailed the adoption on Sunday of a negotiating framework for the code of conduct as progress towards preventing disputes.
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The sanctions resolution that China and Russian Federation voted for was the seventh the Security Council has imposed on North Korea since 2006, when the country carried out its first nuclear test.
Tillerson, who previously has said the United States does not seek regime change in Pyongyang, reiterated his hope that eventually the Korea Peninsula will rid itself of nuclear weapons.
The ARF is an annual security gathering involving foreign ministers from almost 30 nations including China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the ASEAN members.
Yet despite deeming North Korea a top security threat, the young Trump administration has struggled to find a strategy that differs significantly from what the US has tried in the past. And China joined the 15-0 vote in the Security Council on the new sanctions.
Chinese state media on Monday acknowledged North Korea had to be punished for its missile tests, but criticized the United States for its "arrogance".
In Manila on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the grand celebration of ASEAN's 50th anniversary along with his counterparts from ASEAN and other nations.
"Singapore is not in a position to tell other countries what to do in regards to their sovereignty but I think we can expect Singapore to take a very robust approach to dealings with China in its capacity as the ASEAN chair". Kang is thanking the US for consulting with South Korea on the sanctions. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strong autonomous sanctions measures on North Korea and will coordinate these sanctions and capacity building measures, including in the area of export control to detect and disrupt North Korean WMD proliferation networks. "The member states must implement the resolution themselves even without us putting pressure for it".