Maximilian Ernst

DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow

Programs: GeoeconomicsRegions: AsiaCategory: AGI News, Transatlantic Perspectives

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 AGI, 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 AGI 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/AGI Research Fellowship is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.

Recent Content


Double Down on Liberalism: A Transatlantic Response to Chinese Economic Coercion

China is increasingly resorting to economic coercion to advance political objectives. In the Asia-Pacific regional context, Beijing has repeatedly leveraged economic interdependence to subject regional states to its political and …

AGI Welcomes New Fellows for 2020

AGI is pleased to announce three new fellows selected for the 2020 DAAD/AGI Research Fellowship. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fellowships will be conducted virtually from October 1 …