Thousands of South Korean workers working for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) have been sent on unpaid leave for indefinite period amid a deadlock in defense cost-sharing talks between the two allies, local media reported.

This came as Seoul and Washington failed to end the stalemate over new Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that stipulates as to how much South Korea would pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. forces in the country.

“Today, approximately half of the USFK Korean National employee workforce has been furloughed due to a lapse in the Special Measures Agreement,” Yonhap news agency quoted

Read more: US military furloughs S. Korean workers amid deadlock