The historic warming of ties between South Korea and Japan took a new turn when the leaders of the two countries stood together and told a U.S. audience they were looking at ways to strengthen their economic bonds.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told a group of entrepreneurs at Stanford University on Friday they were looking at methods to benefit startups in both countries, with Yoon saying if they join forces the two should be able to create solutions that address global issues.

"Imagine startups from two neighboring countries, Japan and South Korea, getting together for engaging in friendly competition with each other and creating new partnerships,” Kishida told the entrepreneurs, ahead of a panel discussion with Yoon.