In the wake of one of North Koreas worst famines; an insidious North Korean general influences the government to secretly divert humanitarian aid to beef up its army; slowly gaining power in the process.
Fearful that North Korea is amassing huge quantities of military weapons; the new Chinese regime eliminates arms sales to North Korea. In response; the North Korean government initiates secret overtures to Russia; who strikes a quiet alliance. In the midst of another North Korean famine; food riots begin rocking the countryside and the rogue North Korean general assumes complete control of the army. Blaming China for the famine; he begins charging north to seize Chinese territory with tacit support from its new Russian ally.
China moves to respond; but limits the level of escalation; fearing open conflict with Russia and a possible nuclear exchange. Instead; China officially agrees to a multinational force to safeguard the China-North Korean border.