Nine young North Korean defectors, who the United Nations and South Korea believe were forcibly repatriated to their isolated homeland last month, appeared on North Korean television on Friday (June 21).

Earlier in June, the United Nations said that it was concerned about China's return of the nine to North Korea, where they face severe punishment, possibly execution, for having fled. The nine were first sent back to China after crossing into Laos.

North Korea's state-run television KRT broadcast footage shot on Thursday (June 20) of the nine, all believed to be orphans, sitting for a talk show after their return.

One defector thanked their leader during the television programme.

"We almost got sank into the depth of misery forever, but our dear leader Kim Jong-un has saved us in his arms kindly. Kim opened up a bright future and hope for the tomorrow to us. Kim is our true mother and father," 19-year-old North Korean defector Mun Chol said.

The nine also sang a North Korean song "Ardent Desire", one defector was seen crying during the song.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said the nine had been "forcibly deported to the North" after they were picked up by North Korean agents in Laos as they tried to make their way to South Korea.

However, North's KCNA news agency has said South Korean "elements" had tried to trick the nine and take them to the South.

Presented by Adam Justice