The Marara 22 military exercise initiated by France will take place in French Polynesia in the South Pacific from May 8 to 19. The move came amid increased concerns over Chinese influence in the region.

It is scheduled that 18 countries will send personnel to participate. This year’s exercise will focus on multinational humanitarian aid and disaster relief drills.

Japanese news outlet Mainichi reported that the exercise would feature five personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force, the Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Joint Staff, as well as the United States, Australia, South Korea, and Southeast Asian and Pacific island states.

French media outlet La1Ere wrote that the annual Marara exercise is one of the most important events in the Pacific. For the 2022 edition, more than 1000 soldiers will meet.

China announced in April that it had signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands. After that, the U.S. and other countries have expressed concern about China’s growing influence.

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