Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller composite

Two US citizens held in North Korea are on their way home after being freed by the secretive state, officials have confirmed.

Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller were being accompanied by the US government’s director of national intelligence James Clapper, his office said.

Mr Bae had been detained in North Korea since November 2012, while Mr Miller had been held since April.

Korean-American missionary Mr Bae was jailed for 15 years following his conviction for crimes against the state in a trial that he said lasted an hour.

The 46-year-old said in August that his health had deteriorated after being held at a labour camp, where he was forced to work for eight hours a day.

Mr Miller was sentenced to six years of hard labour after he was accused of tearing up his visa at Pyongyang airport and shouting that he wanted to seek asylum.

The men were released less than a month after Jeffrey Fowle, awaiting trial for leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin, was freed.