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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The reunions taking place this week between Korean families separated by the 1950-53 war produce heart-wrenching images of elderly relatives who are likely seeing each other for the last time before they die.

But they’re also highly political and tightly controlled events where participants often find it difficult to have genuine conversations.

Much of the awkwardness centers on the defining fact of the Korean Peninsula: For decades it has been divided between the authoritarian North and the capitalist South.

Citizens from both nations, especially the elderly who remember the bitterness and bloodshed of the war, often wear their nationalism on their sleeves, and some South Koreans have complained that their relatives take every chance to score propaganda points for their authoritarian nation.