MANILA, July 27 (Xinhua) — The United States does not take a position on the competing sovereignty claims to the land features of the South China Sea, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.

Kerry and Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay held a joint press conference at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.

At the press conference, Kerry stressed the importance of turning the page and initiating negotiations and talks among claimants.

Kerry said the U.S. encourages all claimants to exercise restraint.