Lithuania blocks railways contract with China-owned company -agency

VILNIUS, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The Lithuanian government on Wednesday ordered the state-owned railway company not to sign a contract with a China-owned Spanish bridge builder, citing “national security interests,” the prime minister’s spokesperson told BNS wire.

The railway said last year it had requested a government review of the contract after Spanish-registered Puentes y Calzadas Infraestructuras won a bridge-building tender with the lowest bid of 62.5 million euros ($55.2 million).

The company lists China Road and Bridge Corporation as the parent company on its website. Lithuanian Railways cited “connections to China” as one of the risks of the contract.

China is pressuring Lithuania after it allowed Taiwan, which China considers its province, to open a de-facto embassy in Vilnius.

$1 = 0.8835 euros Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Richard Chang