WATCH: Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby holds a briefing

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby held a briefing hours before Biden makes a national security initiative announcement.

Watch Kirby’s remarks in the player above.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomed his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton to the Pentagon Wednesday for a meeting centered on bilateral issues, and the importance of the U.S. – Australian Alliance.

Secretary Austin reinforced to Dutton that the United States will never forget that twenty years ago, on September 11, Australia invoked, for the first time in its history, the collective defense article of the ANZUS Treaty and thanked the Australian minister for his country’s support and contributions in Afghanistan.

“Minister Dutton, the American people will forever be grateful. And we will always remember Australia, your steadfast support,” Austin said. “We’re looking forward to continuing our close cooperation.”

Adding, “We’re also grateful to Australia for standing alongside us to the very end of our military mission in Afghanistan.”

The meeting with the Australian minister underscored the strengthening defense ties between the two countries and concerns over China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.