China says it's against referring ally North Korea to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.

The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee is considering a resolution calling on the Security Council to take that step, citing the North's dismal and well-documented record of sprawling political prison camps, starvation and mass executions.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that China believes disputes over human rights issues should be handled through dialogue, and that bringing them to the court won't bring improvements.

It isn't clear whether the resolution will be approved, and Hua didn't say whether China would use its Security Council veto to block a referral.

Despite showing annoyance with Pyongyang's threatening actions, China has continued to provide it with diplomatic cover.