China is contributing 600 personnel, including 49 from the military, to multinational disaster relief exercises in Malaysia, the first time it has taken part in such an effort.

The Defense Ministry says China's contribution will include experts from the foreign and civil affairs ministry, along with local government bodies and troops from the army and paramilitary forces.

The five-day ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise 2015 is due to kick off on Sunday in the Malaysian states of Kedah and Perlis.

China is co-chairing the event along with Malaysia. The U.S., Japan, South Korea and India are among other nations and organizations taking part, with about 2,000 participants in total.

Along with its booming economy and rising diplomatic clout, China has increasingly engaged in disaster relief work and multinational exercises.