Sri Lankan leader wants debt talks done by October

The president of debt-riddled Sri Lanka aims to conclude negotiations with creditors including Japan by October at the latest.

Speaking to NHK in Tokyo on Friday, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said, "We'd like to finish it off by September, October, before I present the budget in November."

Sri Lanka suspended external debt payments in April of last year. Fiscal policy failures and other factors triggered price rises and a sharp depreciation of the country's currency.

The first round of restructuring talks took place earlier this month. China is believed to be Sri Lanka's largest creditor, but attended only as an observer.

Wickremesinghe urged Beijing to participate in the discussion, saying, "We have proposed that everyone joins together."

The Sri Lankan leader met Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Thursday. He says he told Kishida that his country intends to apply for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. And he says he wants Sri Lanka to join a trans-Pacific trade agreement known as the CPTPP.