China's rejection of the case filed by the Philippines regarding a maritime territorial dispute under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea suggests that the path to a smooth settlement, legal or otherwise, is blocked.

"China's refusal to accept the Philippines' request for arbitration has full grounding in international law," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said last week.

The Philippines took the case to international arbitration after a standoff lasting several weeks a year ago at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea. The area is about 160 kilometers from the Philippines and 800 km from China.