MANILA, Philippines - North Korea was widely condemned for its failed rocket launch on Friday, but the isolated regime in Pyongyang won some support with communist rebels in the Philippines praising its defiance.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been battling to overthrow the government in Manila since 1969, congratulated North Korea for "successfully defying the US-led campaign" to stop its rocket launch.
"The launch, however, was not a complete success," the insurgents conceded in a statement, although they also sought to put it in perspective.
"Even the most advanced capitalist countries have encountered rocket-launch failures in the past, including the mid-flight explosion of the US Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986."
The Philippines, a close US ally, had joined the widespread global condemnation of the North Korean rocket plan.
It had diverted flights and stopped boats from going to sea in the north of the country in case the rocket's debris reached its territory.
The Maoist-inspired Communist Party of the Philippines has grown more isolated since the collapse of the Cold War and now counts a little over 4,000 fighters in the hinterlands of this country.
However the rebels are still active, extorting funds from rural businesses and politicians and raiding isolated police and military outposts.
The government opened peace talks with the communists but negotiations reached an impasse last year after the government rejected rebel demands to free their captured comrades.