U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States has no position in China's disputes with Southeast Asian nations in South China Sea, but only wants all parties to follow the rule of law and settle their differences peacefully.

He said Tuesday that a recent international tribunal's decision on a case brought by the Philippines against China — which went against Beijing — is final and binding and based on international law.

"We absolutely support rule of law, the legal process and diplomacy," Kerry told reporters ahead of a regional security conference being hosted by Laos.

China, which also is attending the conference, has rejected The Hague-based tribunal's decision, saying it has a historical claim over most of South China Sea. It says all disputes should be resolved bilaterally.