Maximilian Ernst is a researcher and PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), where he is also affiliated with the KF-VUB Korea Chair. His PhD research seeks to explain Chinese Coercive Diplomacy targeting secondary states in the Asia-Pacific region, specifically how Beijing reconciles the strategic costs of alienating the target states of coercion. Prior to his doctoral studies, Mr. Ernst worked as a Consultant for the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency in Hamburg. He holds an MA in International Security and Foreign Policy from Yonsei University in Seoul and a BA in Chinese Studies from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.
During his fellowship at AICGS, Maximilian’s research will focus on Chinese security and foreign policy, including economic statecraft targeting U.S. allies both in Asia and in Europe. Building on his PhD research on China’s strategic considerations informing Beijing’s decision to coerce nation states—diplomatically, economically, and militarily—the research at AICGS is set out to identify prospects and opportunities for a transatlantic response to Chinese statecraft targeting U.S. allies. In order to overcome the systemic challenge from China, capitals in Europe, notably Brussels and Berlin, and DC are incentivized to develop a transatlantic China policy that emphasizes the long-term shared interests of the transatlantic community. It is proposed that increased cooperation in key areas such as investment screening, 5G, communications technology, and artificial intelligence bears the opportunity for the transatlantic community to mitigate the adverse economic effects of decoupling, economically and industrially, from China.
The DAAD/AICGS Research Fellowship is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.