Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday put his political career on the line to urge opposition lawmakers to support the Cabinet's NT$80 billion flood-prevention budget.
"If lawmakers still do not want to help us on this issue, I will be more than happy to urge them to lodge a no-confidence motion forcing me to step down. The president would then be able to dismiss the legislature," he said.
"If that happens, the budget proposal can be decided by the public through a referendum," Hsieh said.
He made the remarks last night during a fund-raising activity at Taipei's Ambassador Hotel, which was also attended by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
"I can tell that he [Hsieh] is very serious about this," Lee said.
Hsieh reiterated that the last thing he would like to see is for the budget proposal to stall while the year-end elections approach, as this could lead to a political tug-of-war with opposition politicians.
"Then we will never be able to get the money to carry out the construction work on behalf of the public," he said.
On Friday, Hsieh said in an interview with a major Japanese daily that he is concerned about China's military buildup and that it is necessary for the US and Japan to jointly ensure security in the Taiwan Strait.
The Asahi Shimbun ran the interview yesterday.
The premier said that he welcomes US and Japanese officials listing the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue as a common strategic objective in a Security Consultative Committee meeting in Washington earlier this year.
He said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait not only relates to the two countries, but is also linked closely to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, adding that it is only natural that the two countries are concerned about the stability in the Taiwan Strait.
On the cross-strait military balance, Hsieh said that Taiwan currently has an edge, but if the arms procurement package to buy crucial weapons from the US doesn't clear the Legislative Yuan, then the military balance will tip in China's favor by 2012.