U.N. panel on North Korea sanctions extended until April 2015

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday agreed unanimously to extend the work of an independent panel of experts on North Korean sanctions by another year.

In the resolution, the 15-member council said it would "extend until April 5, 2015 the mandate of the Panel of Experts," adding that it would "take appropriate action regarding further extension no later than March 5, 2015."

Another requirement laid out in the text is that the panel submit its midterm report to the Security Council by Sept. 5. The group is also required to present its final report to the council by next March.

The Panel of Experts consists of eight members from the five permanent council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- along with Japan, South Korea and South Africa. They investigate how the sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang are being implemented.

In their most recent report that remains unpublished the panel determined that North Korea went to great lengths to defy sanctions by using a global network, including companies based in China and Singapore, to evade detection of a cargo ship that was discovered to be smuggling weapons last summer in waters off Panama.

The resolutions to impose various forms of trade restrictions, asset freezes and other measures were adopted after North Korea carried out underground nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and most recently in February 2013.