The Japanese and South Korean leaders agreed Thursday to respond jointly and trilaterally with the United States to North Korea's nuclear posturing as they vowed to communicate closely about regional and global challenges, in the latest sign of a thawing in relations long marred by wartime history.

Meeting for the seventh time this year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol both expressed their hope for further deepening of bilateral cooperation across a range of areas, not limited to security and their economies.

The two leaders agreed they will strive to maintain and strengthen a "free and open" order in the Indo-Pacific, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.