China on Friday rejected the Philippines' move for international arbitration by a UN body over islands in the South China Sea claimed by both the countries.
The Philippines had applied for arbitration by the international tribunal on the Law of the Sea, which has now set up a committee to hear the case.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China rejected this process and its attitude on the issue will not change.
She said China preferred the issue to be settle bilaterally though negotiations.
The Philippines had in January asking a UN tribunal to order a halt to Beijing's activities that it said violated Philippine sovereignty over the islands, surrounded by potentially energy-rich waters.
The Philippines calls the islets as Spartleys while China calls them as Nansha.
Besides establishing its administrative control over these areas, China in recent months also pressed its naval and surveillance vessels to aggressively patrol the South China Sea areas.
China claims most of South China Sea as its own.
The claim is contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei besides Taiwan.