November 3, 2004.
A Chinese Gov airplane, en route to the US for a highly important diplomatic meeting, disappears somewhere over the Bearing Straits. While the search begins for the wreckage, the Chinese accuse the Russians of shooting the plane down. Russia refutes the claim as ludicrous.
November 12, 2004.
In Beijing, General Xi Chang Wei is tasked with creating a military response to this affront to the PRC. His answer, Operation Winter Dragon.
Winter Dragon is a daring plan that calls for an invasion of Kazakhstan followed immediately by a push into Russia along the Kazakhstan|Russian Border, straight into the energy production/distribution centers in the Urals-Volga region (with the added bonus of threatening the Caspian Sea oil reserves of the Kazakhstan government).
Using two massive armies, the plan is for a large armor unit to spearhead through Kazakhstan and fight the heavy Russian forces that are concentrated around the Urals-Volga region while the second unit, a rapid motorized army, advances past this region straight to the Kara Sea securing the Urals on the way.
If the plan succeeds, it destroys the majority of the Russian military east of the Urals, as most of their forces are still garrisoned to respond to the now concluded cold war. The PLA would be dug in along a strong defensive line spanning the entire length of the country and would isolate the West from all energy production/reserves in the East.
The PRC would then broker with the Russians from a position of dominance.
November 27, 2004.
December 2, 2004.
Unbeknownst to the Russians and the Chinese, the US 82nd Airborne and a contingent of US Army Special Forces is in the midst of CENTRAZBAT 04, a bi-yearly joint military exercise conducted between the US Army and Kazakhstan federal troops. On arrival, the Russians find they have another ally, sworn to defend Kazak soil by a secret treaty signed in 1999.
The Russian/US joint response plan calls for letting PLA forces cross the border with token resistance and then hitting them from behind with special operations forces in combination with air strikes. After these forces have crippled the PLA spearhead, the Russian army would then launch a counter attack, most likely just inside the Russian side of the Russian|Kazakhstan border.
December 3, 2004.