The Lithuanian government announced on Friday that it would block Chinese security-screening equipment Nuctech from supplying x-ray baggage scanning devices for the country’s three international airports due to national security concerns.
According to government spokeswoman Rasa Jakilaitiene, Nuctech won a bid last year to install baggage scanners at Lithuania’s airports located in Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga.
She said that no formal agreement has been signed between the Beijing-based state-owned security inspection products firm and the three airports.
However, Jakilaitiene said a parliament-appointed commission concluded this week that the luggage and cargo-screening equipment from the Chinese firm “does not meet national security interests” of Lithuania.
She added that the decision of the commission was based on the “confidential information provided by the authorities” and declined to provide any further details regarding the panel’s conclusion.
The blocking of Nuctech’s equipment came amid an intensifying crackdown against Chinese investments in critical infrastructures in Europe.
The commission claimed that Nuctech’s baggage scanners are capable of collecting the data on passengers and their luggage. The information would then be forwarded to the intelligence and security services in China due to its law which compels Chinese firms to help with the intelligence gathering of the country.
In an interview, Laurynas Kasciunas, the chairman of the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defense, told Baltic News Service that the commission’s conclusion “shows that Lithuania decided not to be a part of techno-sphere created and controlled by China.”
“Investments and purchases in strategic sectors must meet the trans-Atlantic security criteria,” he added.
Nuctech was not able to provide an immediate comment regarding the commission’s conclusion.
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