(CNN) -- The United States can forget about hosting trilateral talks involving China and Japan over the disputed islands, Beijing said via state media Wednesday.
"The territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands is the business of the two nations only," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said, according to the Xinhua news agency.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the offer during discussions with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi last week, Xinhua said.
Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have been strained by their growing dispute over the islands, which China calls the Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku.
Japan in early September arrested a Chinese fishing crew off the islands, leading to a diplomatic battle.
In response, China made increasingly aggressive diplomatic threats. Beijing also halted ministerial-level talks with Tokyo, and both sides canceled trips to each other's nations.
Japan has since released the fishing crew, but Beijing has repeatedly said the islands belong to China.
Beijing also says most of the South China Sea belongs to China, disputing neighboring countries' claims. The clash over territorial waters and islands -- and the natural resources that go with them -- is a flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region.