China has again rejected an attempt by the Philippines to challenge its territorial claims over the South China Sea through international arbitration, releasing a lengthy paper a week before a deadline for China to respond to the case.

China prefers to settle its disputes with discussions with the countries directly involved. But the Philippines has filed a case with an international tribunal.

China's paper argues that territorial sovereignty is beyond the scope of the tribunal and that China and the Philippines have previously agreed to settle the dispute through negotiations.

The Philippines filed the case in January 2013. The tribunal has invited China to respond by December 15.