A country is a region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people with distinct political characteristics. There are 197 countries in the world: 193 UN members + 2 UN observers + Taiwan + Kosovo. The United Nations, as the most influential international organization, is often considered the start point for the correct counting the total number.