Amphibious military capabilities are on the agenda as the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy host defense leaders from around the Pacific in Hawaii this week.

The first-of-its kind meeting comes as territorial disputes over islands grow more heated in the region.

U.S. treaty allies Japan and the Philippines are expected to attend along with U.S. partners like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Altogether, 23 nations will join.

China wasn't invited, even though it has one of the region's fastest-growing militaries. Marine Corps Col. Nathan Nastase says a U.S. law restricting the types of military exercises the U.S. and China may engage in together prevents China's inclusion.

Nastase says participants will discuss how they may develop amphibious capabilities and operate together. U.S. Marines and sailors will demonstrate landing on a beach.