The issue became more complex after the USA and Australia became part of the East Asia summit in 2011.
Countries like Philippines are keen to have a code in place. But China's all-weather friend in the grouping, Cambodia, is opposing the move. The informal negotiations are also on between ASEAN and China. The US with its re-balancing strategy is focussing on the Asia pacific region and has its own impact on the South China Sea issue as well.
China was also irked at India as India had been exploring oil blocks in Vietnam in South China Sea.