Very standard comments from Franz and the Track Ii crowd.
As I have written before, there is a very prominent group that considers international regulation of labs as impossible (and damaging to the US ability to stay in the race).
Their alternate strategy is based on the success of the CTR with the USSR, despite the differences..
Major differences which actually largely invalidate the Track iI approach to China.
With the likely result that China gamed it to its own advantage.
To appreciate the strong disdain of regulations that goes with it, and the blind faith in Track II (scientist to scientist cooperation, an interesting concept when applied to China that strongly controls every interaction), watch this Franz lecture:
It is rather sad that the supposed only game in town (Track II) was actually an open invitation to China to game it and to take advantage of US biotechnology.
So regulation does not work, cooperation can be gamed and abused. And that is basically the challenge.
Track II in China was a complete failure of imagination and the standard mistake in intel/strategy which is to project one's values, codes and understandings onto one's foes.
Russia gamed the US in BW for many years, then the US successfully implemented the CTR in the ex USSR.
Faced with the very real dilemma of the easiness to hide a BW program or to quickly switch from bio-defense to bio-offense research and applications, Franz and his crowd waived Track II as the best solution.
This suited the US which had scant intel assets on the ground,
especially at a time when the US was focussing mostly on the Middle East (another failure of intel/strategy) and as Xi succeeded Hu Jintao (2013).
But the structural requirements were simply not there.
China is the worst possible case for Track II:
no transparency, no accountability, no free press, an increasingly paranoid insecure government that cannot admit to any failure.
All the lights were red and getting brighter - and still the US went ahead with Track II.
Predictably China simply gamed the US again.
In the end this is the essential point:
Q: What has Track II achieved in our ability to get insights and info from China on Covid-19?
A: Absolutely nothing.
Instead it achieved a transfer of DURC biotechnology from the US to China. Free of charge.