Connecting and "distancing" have been two prominent themes permeating the writings on the historical and contemporary developments of the relationship between Southeast Asia and China. As neighbours, the nation-states in Southeast Asia and the giant political entity in the north communicated with each other through a variety of diplomatic overtures, political agitations, and cultural nuances. In the last two decades with the rise of China as an economic powerhouse in the region, Southeast Asia’s need to connect with China has become more urgent and necessary as it attempts to reap the benefit from the successful economic modernization in China. At the same time, however, there were feelings of ambivalence, hesitation and even suspicions on the part of the Southeast Asian states vis-à-vis the rise of a political power which is so less understood or misunderstood. The contributors of this volume are authors of various disciplinary backgrounds: history, political science, economics and sociology. They provide a spectrum of perspectives by which the readers can view Sino–Southeast Asia relations.