After the most recent ASEAN meeting in Brunei, China has ignored the prodding of the US to sign on to a Code of Conduct aimed at preventing maritime disputes from escalating.
However, the Christian Science Monitor notes that China has established hotlines with Japan and Vietnam, aimed at diffusing tensions. It’s not clear what level of the bureaucracy these hotlines are plugged into among the nations.
But it’s been noted elsewhere that the China-US hotline does not function as particularly smoothly during crises both because the consensus-nature of China’s leadership, which makes snap decisions difficult. Moreover, in times of crisis, China has been known to not pick up the phone in protest.