SEOUL, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Three North Koreans featured in a recent Pyongyang television program have been confirmed in South Korea as former defectors who have returned to their country of origin.
Reasons for their repatriation, however, were unclear.
In a video released by North Korea's Uriminzokkiri TV Wednesday, Pyongyang suggested in the show's title the three defectors as well as three other North Koreans had returned to their "mother's bosom."
On Wednesday Seoul's unification ministry confirmed that three of the six North Koreans are former defectors: two men, Park Kyung-eun, 64, Kang Cheol-woo, 40, and a woman, Kim Yeon-ju, 22.
North Korean television also presented three other North Koreans: Kim Yong Hee, 36, Kim Man Bok, 63, and Chae Un Chol, 29, South Korean television network KBS reported.
All six individuals were identified by North Korea as re-defectors from the South.
According to Pyongyang, Park returned to the North in June, and Kang and Kim Yeon-ju allegedly repatriated in September.
The remaining three North Koreans re-defected about a year ago, according to the official statement.
There are now 19 known re-defections, according to Seoul, but the motivations for repatriation remain unclear.
Analysts have said it could be government coercion, but Pyongyang has always maintained the individuals returned voluntarily after being tricked to leave the country.
In the video, Park condemned life in the South and said he and other defectors received "unreasonable treatment."
"In South Korea, as defectors we live with the scorn and contempt of others, and must live our lives as an ostracized people," Park said. "We are treated as foreigners, or as second-class citizens."
A unification ministry official said that the North Korean video footage was "very regrettable," Voice of America reported.
North Korea has previously aired footage of choreographed press conferences and "confessions," often to discourage North Koreans from defecting at a time when more people are gaining access to information about the outside world.