China said Tuesday that sanctions should not be used to resolve the standoff between some Western countries and Iran as a way to persuade the hardline Islamic regime to drop its nuclear program. The United States, France and Britain are among the countries coming out strongly in favor of new sanctions as part of an effort to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program that Washington says is an attempt to acquire an atomic bomb. China has joined fellow permanent UN Security Council member Russia in opposing such measures. China believes that "the unbridled use of sanctions should not be encouraged," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference. His comments come as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Beijing to call on China to back new sanctions against Iran. Israel maintains that Iran is a threat to its existence and has hinted it could strike militarily if the international community allows Iran to develop nuclear arms. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insists his country's nuclear ambitions are peaceful, has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction. China backed two rounds of UN sanctions, but has since joined fellow permanent Security Council member Russia, in opposing new measures.