China condemned Monday's North Korean nuclear test and called for punishment, but said it would not support severe US-backed sanctions, which it fears could cause a mass exodus from the economically unsteady county, AP reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that instead of focusing on punishment, the international community "should take positive and appropriate measures that will help the process of de-nuclearization on the Korean peninsula". But he also expressed China's anger, saying the test was done "flagrantly, and in disregard of the international community's shared opposition". The US has asked the UN Security Council to impose a partial trade embargo, including strict limits on Korea's weapons exports and freezing of related financial assets. Japan, which holds the presidency of the Security Council for October, has demanded the toughest sanctions, possibly including a blanket air and naval blockade and a ban on senior North Korean diplomats traveling abroad. China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said the Security Council must impose "punitive actions" but that they have to "be appropriate". China can use its veto power in the council to block any sanctions it does not support, and would likely have the support of Russia.