China is racing towards an advantage in space that could lead to the regime “dominating the world,” a top European Union official warned Thursday.

“Look for instance at what China is doing, launching … a lot of satellites,” Pierre Delsaux, a deputy director general at the European Commission, said at a defense forum in Washington. “It’s something that we need to take into account because again dominating space will mean dominating the world.”

Delsaux raised the fear during discussion about how the European Union and the United States might partner in the event that China tries to close vital shipping lanes in the Indo-Pacific region. The EU official, who focuses on internal markets and entrepreneurship, warned against focusing too much on “classic” military clashes on land and at sea.

“In the world in which we live, war can take other forms,” Delsaux told an assembly of U.S. and European officials at the EU & Foreign Policy Defense Forum 2019. “You can destroy a country by an economic dimension, not necessarily by invading a country.”

Delsaux’s comments about Chinese threats followed an earlier panel discussion in which U.S. and European officials gave a public glimpse of how Western allies disagree about how to counter China. An American diplomat suggested that European allies are underestimating how China is using economic power in a strategic rivalry with the West.

“You cannot look at these as purely economically driven projects,” Julia Fisher, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Europe and the European Union, said earlier Thursday. “That’s not what drives folks in the Kremlin, and it’s not what drives folks in Beijing.”

Delsaux’s comments acknowledged a large-scale threat in space. “Our economy is more and more dependent upon space,” he said. “And, of course, who controls space at the end of the day will be able to control the world economy.”



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