MR Rui Xingwen, a former close aide of disgraced Communist Party chief Mr Zhao Ziyang, said he was confident the runaway inflation of 1988 would not recur during the drive to hasten economic reform. Mr Rui, now a vice-chairman of the State Planning Commission, said: ''I'm optimistic. We have experienced many twists and turns and drawn lessons from the past. ''Although the present trend of development has been good, the State Council has reminded people to be aware [of the fears of overheating]. This is a good phenomenon.'' Mr Rui, who is attending the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, warned the problems would be accentuated if people did not heed the lesson of 1988, when hyper-inflation contributed to the downfall of Mr Zhao. Mr Rui, 66, a former member of the Communist Party's Secretariat, stepped down after the June 4 suppression because of his close links with Mr Zhao. He was ''partially rehabilitated'' when he was given his present job two years ago. In a sign of his return to public life, Mr Rui led a fact-finding delegation of the State Planning Commission to Japan and Singapore last month. Citing findings from his 12-day trip, Mr Rui said China would be the most attractive place for Japanese investment: China had the edge over several Southeast Asian countries in its investment environment while Western countries were still mired in economic depression. Echoing the calls of patriarch Mr Deng Xiaoping for fast-paced development, Mr Rui has proposed joint delegations of government and entrepreneurs be sent to foreign countries to lure foreign investments. But he warned the striving for a high rate of economic growth should not be made merely for the sake of speed. Mr Rui said it was of paramount importance to ensure the availability of funds, materials, equipments and markets as well as a balance of supply and demand in the pursuit of high economic growth. He said there was no necessary correlation between high-rate growth and overheating. ''In some countries, there has been high inflation even though their rate of economic growth is low,'' he said. Mr Rui said he was confident inflation would be below six per cent, as the government had predicted.