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Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
US rejects 'Made in China' berets
Crew of a US Navy surveillance plane returns home after 12 days of detention in China
US-Chinese relations were damaged by the spy plane dispute
The United States department of defence is to recall and dispose of 600,000 Chinese-made berets in a move costing $4 million.


I direct the army to recall previously distributed berets and dispose of the stock

Paul Wolfowitz,
Department of Defence
"The Army Chief of Staff has determined that US troops shall not wear berets made in China or berets made with Chinese content," Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said in an official statement on Tuesday.

"Therefore, I direct the army and the defence logistics agency to take appropriate action to recall previously distributed berets and dispose of the stock."

The move was apparently related to heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing in the wake of disputes over surveillance, Taiwan and missile defence.

US law requires the Pentagon to buy American-made goods where possible.

'War of the Black Beret'

Destruction of the berets is the latest twist in an internal army battle so severe it has been dubbed the "War of the Black Beret".

US Army Ranger wearing a black beret
Black berets were exclusively for elite Rangers
Last October, General Eric Shinseki, the army chief of staff, decided that the army should wear black berets - previously the identifying feature of the elite Army Rangers.

Former Rangers led vociferous criticism of the decision, and after five months of fighting, the army announced that the elite troops would switch to tan berets.

Army Airborne troops will continue to wear their traditional maroon berets, while 474,000 other troops will get new black berets - though it is not yet clear where they will come from.

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29 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
US-China spy-plane row
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