The former U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed words of sincere apology for the journalists' hostile acts, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Wednesday.

After North Korea's leader Kim Jong II pardoned the reporters, Mr. Clinton also conveyed a message from President Obama expressing profound thanks for this and reflecting views on ways of improving the relations between the two countries, the North Korean News Agency said.

The measure taken to release the American journalists is a manifestation of the DPRK's (North Korea's) humanitarian and peace-loving policy, KCNA added.

It said the Pyongyang meetings, which included a dinner in honor of Clinton, reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of pending issues dividing the United States and North Korea.

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejected the Korean official report that said Bill Clinton had delivered an apology about the incident to the country's ailing leader, Kim Jong Il.

That is not true, Hillary Clinton said. That did not occur.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, asked earlier about the reported delivery of a message from Obama, also said: That's not true.

The journalists were captured while on assignment to collect material for a report about trafficking of North Korean women into China.

The two American journalists Laura Ling, 32 and Euna Lee, 36 arrived at home on Wednesday accompanied by former President Bill Clinton.