Sept. 26 (UPI) -- South Korea said arriving at a consensus with the United States on the 11th Special Measures Agreement is not expected to be easy, according to a South Korean press report.
A Seoul foreign ministry official who spoke to local reporters on Thursday said the government "cannot confirm the details of the negotiations" and that they are operating in a "dynamic and new negotiating environment," Tongil News reported.
Seoul's foreign ministry also said they "cannot tell to what degree discussions will extend."
"Until settlement is reached, much effort will be required," the ministry said, according to the report.
The statements come days after U.S. President Donald Trump said U.S. allies must pay more for American troops stationed overseas.
"We are also revitalizing our alliances by making it very clear that all of our partners are expected to pay their fair share of the tremendous defense burden which the United States has borne in the past," Trump said Tuesday before the United Nations General Assembly.
Earlier Trump had told an audience in Baltimore that U.S. allies "treat us worse than anybody else."
U.S. demands and reports alleging Washington seeks a five-fold increase, or $5 billion, in South Korean contributions to burden sharing have triggered protests in Korea. Activists have said Trumps' demands are excessive and force South Korea to foot the bill for U.S. defense costs beyond Korea's borders.
On Thursday, a day after the conclusion of the first round of negotiations, South Korea's foreign ministry said it would be "difficult" to settle in three months. The deadline for an agreement is Dec. 31, according to Stars and Stripes.
In February, South Korea agreed to raise its contribution by 8.2 percent and pay $915 million, and the agreement is being revisited annually. Under previous U.S. administrations, negotiations took place on a five-year schedule, with South Korea defense spending increasing by 20 percent in the last 10 years.
Negotiations currently focus on U.S. Forces Korea rotation costs, and U.S. strategic asset deployment to the peninsula.