Israel's top diplomat is heading to China to press for tougher action against Iran's nuclear program.  As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel fears that a nuclear Iran would pose a threat to its existence.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is bringing a clear message to China: Israel will not allow Iran to get the atom bomb.

Israel is concerned that China and Russia, which are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have opposed calls by the United States for tougher sanctions on Iran.

Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about Iran's nuclear program since late 2005, when the Iranian president threatened to wipe the Jewish state "off the map."

Livni says the world must stop Iran before it is too late.

"These are the days in which the international community, the free world, is being watched.  The international community must not show any kind of hesitation," Livni said.

President Bush has warned that a nuclear Iran could lead to World War III.  And Israel seems to agree.

"Iran is not only a threat to Israel, and it is not only a threat to the region.  The world cannot afford a nuclear Iran," Livni said.

Israeli officials have warned time and again that if diplomacy fails, Israel could take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert traveled to Russia, France, and Britain this month to tell them that time for diplomacy is running out.